Low Back Pain: Unveiling the Contribution of Motor Control Adaption Using Biomechanical Modeling and Neuroimaging

  • End date
    Dec 1, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Balgrist University Hospital
Updated on 27 February 2022
back pain
low back pain
Accepts healthy volunteers


This project aims to reveal the potential sensorimotor reorganization of sensory input in low back pain patients and its association with different motor control strategies in LBP.


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a major health issue. Treatment of chronic LBP is still a major challenge due to a lack of pathophysiological understanding. Thus, understanding LBP pathophysiology is a research priority. Adaptions of motor control likely play a significant role in chronic or recurrent LBP because motor control is crucial for spine posture, stability and movement. Different motor adaption strategies exist across individuals with LBP and two phenotypes representing the opposite ends of a spectrum have been suggested; i.e. "tight" control and "loose" control over trunk movement. The former would be associated with reduced trunk motor variability, the later with increased trunk motor variability. This conceptual framework is very useful to explain maintenance and aggravating of LBP because motor control adaptations are expected to have long-term consequences, such as increased spinal tissue loading, associated with degeneration of intervertebral discs and other tissues. Several knowledge gaps need to be addressed to test the validity of this framework:

  1. Do loose/tight control phenotypes indeed exist and/or do other motor control adaption strategies exist? 2) Is reduced/altered paraspinal proprioceptive input associated with LBP related to neuroplastic cortical changes, thereby affecting the organizational structure in sensorimotor cortices and top-down trunk motor control? 3) Do psychological factors influence the organizational structure in sensorimotor cortices and motor control strategies? To address these knowledge gaps, the objectives of the current project are: I) To establish motor control phenotypes in LBP. Proprioceptive weighting and biomechanical assessment of dynamic movement tasks, including subject-specific spine kinematic variability and its relationship to pain duration, negative pain-related cognitions, segmental loadings and paraspinal muscle forces, will be performed. II) To test whether cortical proprioceptive maps differ between healthy subjects and patients with LBP. Brain activation in response to thoracolumbar vibrotactile stimulation will be interrogated using functional magnetic resonance imaging data and univariate and multivariate analysis based on machine learning. III) To test whether proprioceptive maps demonstrate a relationship to spine kinematic patterns, pain duration and negative pain-related cognitions in LBP patients.

Condition Low Back Pain
Treatment Vibrotactile stimulation, mechanical stimulation, Topical Anesthetic, Hydrating cream
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03255616
SponsorBalgrist University Hospital
Last Modified on27 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Aged between 18 and 60
Written informed consent after being informed
Inclusion criteria low back pain patients
Aged between 18 and 60
Low back pain for more than 1 week

Exclusion Criteria

Consumption of alcohol, drugs, analgesics within the last 24 h
acute and/or low recurrent back pain within the last 3 months
Prior spine surgery
Other chronic pain condition
history of psychiatric or neurological disorders
Body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2
Exclusion criteria low back pain patients
Consumption of alcohol, drugs, analgesics within the last 24 h
Specific causes for the back pain (ruled out by the clinician)
Prior spine surgery
History of psychiatric or neurological disorders
Body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note