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Daniel Viggiani and Jack P. Callaghan

A prolonged standing exposure can identify asymptomatic adults who have a higher risk of developing clinical low back pain later in life. Hip abductor cocontraction differences can predict low back pain development during standing exposures. This study’s purpose was to determine if hip abductor strength, fatigability, and recovery during prolonged standing were related to standing-induced low back pain. Forty young, asymptomatic adults (50% female) performed two 2-hour standing sessions; a fatiguing hip abductor exercise was performed prior to 1 of the 2 standing sessions. Hip abductor strength and surface electromyography of gluteus medius and tensor fascia latae were measured. Self-reported low back pain differentiated low back pain developing (PD) and nonpain developing (NPD) groups. The PD group hip abductors fatigued before the NPD group, with similar perceived effort and force losses. Mean power frequency decreases with fatigue were similar between pain groups for all muscles measured after the fatiguing exercise. Unlike NPDs, PDs did not recover force losses after 120 minutes of standing. Hip abductor fatigability may be related to the development of low back pain in this population.

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Daniel Viggiani, Erin M. Mannen, Erika Nelson-Wong, Alexander Wong, Gary Ghiselli, Kevin B. Shelburne, Bradley S. Davidson and Jack P. Callaghan

People developing transient low back pain during standing have altered control of their spine and hips during standing tasks, but the transfer of these responses to other tasks has not been assessed. This study used video fluoroscopy to assess lumbar spine intervertebral kinematics of people who do and do not develop standing-induced low back pain during a seated chair-tilting task. A total of 9 females and 8 males were categorized as pain developers (5 females and 3 males) or nonpain developers (4 females and 5 males) using a 2-hour standing exposure; pain developers reported transient low back pain and nonpain developers did not. Participants were imaged with sagittal plane fluoroscopy at 25 Hz while cyclically tilting their pelvises anteriorly and posteriorly on an unstable chair. Intervertebral angles, relative contributions, and anterior–posterior translations were measured for the L3/L4, L4/L5, and L5/S1 joints and compared between sexes, pain groups, joints, and tilting directions. Female pain developers experienced more extension in their L5/S1 joints in both tilting directions compared with female nonpain developers, a finding not present in males. The specificity in intervertebral kinematics to sex-pain group combinations suggests that these subgroups of pain developers and nonpain developers may implement different control strategies.