Visual input: A neglected factor in Posture, Balance and Low Back Pain Patterns
People with low back pain use different strategies for balance and posture control, and retraining those patterns is a target of the StrongPosture® exercise protocols. CPEPs and others who teach these Must vs. Try protocols will usually notice early on that an adaptive patient will resort to looking up, down or around as a compensation during some exercises. This is why we stress the importance of incorporating a visual lock with fixed PostureZones to target cueing to the area of weakness.
A recent study supports the importance of visual cueing in StrongPosture® exercise. In a comparison of postural control between healthy subjects and individuals with nonspecific low back pain during exposure to visual stimulus, researchers tracked the effect on low back motion and recruitment of changing the visual field. The visual field input was projection of moving dots at different speeds and directions, and a force platform tracked sway and variance in center of pressure (CoP).
RESULTS: No significant difference between people with chronic low back pain and healthy people when both were on a stable surface. However, on an unstable surface people with LBP had less efficient postural adjustments, making them less able to shift posture to maintain balance with changes in tasks and environments.
CONCLUSION: “Treatment of abnormal motor patterns in people with LBP should take the properties of task and environment into account.”
Weiniger’s TAKEAWAY: Take note of where people are looking when retraining motion patterns.
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Li R, Wang N, Yan X, Wei K (2014). Comparison of postural control between healthy subjects and individuals with nonspecific low back pain during exposure to visual stimulus. Chin Med J. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24709171