Spinal Kinematics of Adolescent Male Rowers with Back Pain in Comparison with Matched Controls During Ergometer Rowing

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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There is a high prevalence of low back pain (LBP) in adolescent male rowers. In this study, regional lumbar spinal kinematics and self-reported LBP intensity were compared between 10 adolescent rowers with moderate levels of LBP relating to rowing with 10 reporting no history of LBP during a 15-minute ergometer trial using an electromagnetic tracking system. Adolescent male rowers with LBP reported increasing pain intensity during ergometer rowing. No significant differences were detected in mean upper or lower lumbar angles between rowers with and without LBP. However, compared with rowers without pain, rowers with pain: (1) had relatively less excursion of the upper lumbar spine into extension over the drive phase, (2) had relatively less excursion of the lower lumbar spine into extension over time, (3) had greater variability in upper and lower lumbar angles over the 15-minute ergometer trial, (4) positioned their upper lumbar spine closer to end range flexion for a greater proportion of the drive phase, and (5) showed increased time in sustained flexion loading in the upper lumbar spine. Differences in regional lumbar kinematics exist between adolescent male rowers with and without LBP, which may have injury implication and intervention strategies.

Leo Ng, Amity Campbell, Anne Smith, and Peter O’Sullivan are with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia. Angus Burnett is with ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar. Peter O’Sullivan is also with Body Logic Physiotherapy, Perth, WA, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Leo Ng at Leo.Ng@curtin.edu.au.