SENSORIMOTOR ASPECTS OF THE SPINE IN ATHLETES AND NON-ATHLETES

  • Lothar Thorwesten
  • Jutta Kreimer
  • Albert Fromme
  • Frank Ch. Mooren
  • Klaus Voelker
Keywords: proprioception, lower back, spine, sportive activity

Abstract

Deficits in proprioceptive capabilities are often associated with the occurrence of low back pain as seen in tests involving exact position reproduction. The degree to which athletic activity can improve kinesthetic sensibility of the spine has not been satisfactorily determined previously. Twenty-seven volunteers (30.4 ±4.4 years) were divided into two groups: athletes (n=18; training 5.7 ±3.8 h/week) and non-athletes (n=9). During an active reproduction test, subjects performed the following trunk positions in random order: flexion [A(10°-20°), B(40°-60°), C(80°-90°)], lateral flexion [A(0°-20°), B(20°-45°)], and axial rotation [A(0°-20°), B(20°-45°)].Using a 3D-ultrasound motion analysis system the variability of the given angle was recorded for each trial. A large variation was generally demonstrated in the measured values. Regarding the accurate reproduction of a given angle, the athlete group showed less discrepancy with a smaller standard deviation than the non-athlete group. The results point to superior kinesthetic abilities in the athlete group and the possibility of improving proprioceptive functions with training.