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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2019 April;55(2):217-24

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05226-7

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Difference between subjects in early chronic phase of low back pain with and without neuropathic component: observational cross-sectional study

Olivera C. DJORDJEVIC 1, 2 , Ljubica M. KONSTANTINOVIC 1, 2, Nadica MILJKOVIC 3

1 Clinic for Rehabilitation “Dr. M. Zotovic”, Belgrade, Serbia; 2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia; 3 Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia



BACKGROUND: Neuropathic pain in early chronic low back pain is insufficiently recognized and treated.
AIM: The aim of this study was to establish if there is a difference among chronic low back pain subjects with and without neuropathic pain and healthy subjects, in clinical characteristic and the level of trunk muscle activation.
DESIGN: Cross sectional observational study.
SETTING: Rehabilitation clinic, inpatient and outpatient.
POPULATION: Thirty-three subjects in early chronic phase of low back pain and 26 healthy subjects were included in this research.
METHODS: Clinical characteristics and relative thickness change of lumbar multifidus and transversal abdominal muscle, measured by ultrasound, in neuropathic, non-neuropathic chronic low back pain and healthy subjects were analyzed.
RESULTS: Chronic low back pain subjects with neuropathic pain reported higher level of pain on Visual Analog Scale (VAS) (back pain P=0.016, leg pain P=0.006), had higher Oswestry Disability Score (P=0.029), had lower motor (P=0.001) and sensory leg scores (P=0.000), and decreased level of activation of transversal abdominal muscle (P=0.000) comparing to chronic low back pain group without neuropathic pain. Low back pain subjects with leg pain ≥5 on VAS were 11.2 times more prone to develop neuropathic pain. Motor leg score ≤47 increases this chance 35 times. Sensory leg score ≤25 increases this chance 14 times. Reduced activation of transversal abdominal muscle for 40-50% increases this chance 7-24 times.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic low back pain subjects with neuropathic pain were more painful and disabled, had lower motor and sensory scores, and lower relative thickness change of transversal abdominal muscle comparing to the low back pain group without neuropathic pain. Self -reported leg pain intensity of 5 or more on VAS, motor score of 47 and less, sensory scores of 25 and less and diminished activation of transversal abdominal muscle significantly increase the chance that chronic low back pain subject has neuropathic component of pain.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Neuropathic pain in early chronic low back pain subjects might be more readily recognized if patients with radiculopathy and diminished activation of transversal abdominal muscle were regularly screened for neuropathic pain.


KEY WORDS: Chronic pain; Low back pain; Hyperalgesia

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