23 May 2021
Back pain is one of the most costly disorders among the worldwide working population. Within that population, healthcare workers are at a high risk of back pain. Though they often demonstrate awkward postures and impaired balance in comparison with healthy workers, there is no clear relationship between compensatory postural responses to unpredictable stimuli and the strength of related muscle groups, in particular in individuals with mild to moderate back pain. This paper presents a study protocol that aims to evaluate the relationship between peak anterior to peak posterior displacements of the center of pressure (CoP) and corresponding time from peak anterior to peak posterior displacements of the CoP after sudden external perturbations and peak force during a maximum voluntary isometric contraction of the back and hamstring muscles in physiotherapists with non-specific back pain in its early stages. Participants will complete the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire. Those that rate their back pain on the 0–10 Low Back Pain Scale in the ranges 1–3 (mild pain) and 4–6 (moderate pain) will be considered. They will undergo a perturbation-based balance test and a test of the maximal isometric strength of back muscles and hip extensors. We assume that by adding tests of reactive balance and strength of related muscle groups in the functional testing of physiotherapists, we would be able to identify back problems earlier and more efficiently and therefore address them well before chronic back disorders occur.