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Journal: BMC musculoskeletal disorders


Non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) is a large and costly problem. It has a lifetime prevalence of 80% and results in high levels of healthcare cost. It is a major cause for long term sickness amongst the workforce and is associated with high levels of fear avoidance and kinesiophobia. Stabilisation (or ‘core stability’) exercises have been suggested to reduce symptoms of pain and disability and form an effective treatment. Despite it being the most commonly used form of physiotherapy treatment within the UK there is a lack of positive evidence to support its use. The aims of this systematic review update is to investigate the effectiveness of stabilisation exercises for the treatment of NSLBP, and compare any effectiveness to other forms of exercise.

Concepts: Disease, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Exercise, Symptoms, Acupuncture, Massage


Back extension exercises are often used in the rehabilitation of low back pain. However, at present it is not clear how the posterior muscles are recruited during different types of extension exercises. Therefore the present study will evaluate the myoelectric activity of thoracic, lumbar and hip extensor muscles during different extension exercises in healthy persons. Based on these physiological observations we will make recommendations regarding the use of extensions exercises in clinical practice.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Hip, Thigh, Flexion, Extension


BACKGROUND: Research involving more representative samples is needed to extend our understanding of the broader impact of obesity in hip or knee joint disease (arthritis and OA) beyond clinical settings. Although population-based research has been conducted in the United States, how these findings translate to other countries is unclear. Using a national approach, this study explored associations between obesity and the burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia (in terms of prevalence, pain, stiffness, function, Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and disease severity). METHODS: A random sample of 5000 Australians (>=39 years) from the federal electoral roll was invited to complete a mailed questionnaire to identify doctor-diagnosed hip arthritis, hip OA, knee arthritis and knee OA and evaluate the burden of these conditions. Validated questionnaires included the WOMAC Index, Assessment of Quality of Life instrument and Multi-Attribute Prioritisation Tool. Body Mass Index (BMI) was classified into underweight/normal weight (<=24.99 kg/m2), overweight (25--29.99) or obese (>=30). Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds of arthritis and OA, with demographic and socioeconomic variables included in the models. Associations between BMI and other variables were investigated using analysis of covariance, with adjustment for age and sex. RESULTS: Data were available from 1,157 participants (23%). Overweight participants had increased odds of knee arthritis (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.87, 95%CI 1.14-3.07) and knee OA (AOR 2.11, 95%CI 1.07-4.15). Obesity was associated with higher prevalence of hip arthritis (AOR 2.18, 95%CI 1.17-4.06), knee arthritis (AOR 5.47, 95%CI 3.35-8.95) and knee OA (AOR 7.35, 95%CI 3.85-14.02). Of those with arthritis or OA, obese individuals reported more pain (for hip arthritis, hip OA and knee OA), greater stiffness (for hip arthritis, knee arthritis and knee OA), worse function (all diagnoses), lower HRQoL (for hip arthritis and hip OA) and greater disease severity (all diagnoses). CONCLUSIONS: This national study has demonstrated that the odds of arthritis and OA was up to 7 times higher for obese individuals, compared with those classified as underweight/normal weight. Concurrent obesity and joint disease had a marked impact on several key aspects of wellbeing, highlighting the need for public health interventions.

Concepts: Cancer, Obesity, Quality of life, Osteoarthritis, Body mass index, Gout, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


BACKGROUND: Sympathetic nervous activity contributes to the maintenance of muscle oxygenation. However, patients with chronic pain may suffer from autonomic dysfunction. Furthermore, insufficient muscle oxygenation is observed among workers with chronic neck and shoulder pain. The aim of our study was to investigate how muscle load tasks affect sympathetic nervous activity and changes in oxygenation of the trapezius muscles in subjects with chronic neck and shoulder pain. METHODS: Thirty females were assigned to two groups: a pain group consisting of subjects with chronic neck and shoulder pain and a control group consisting of asymptomatic subjects. The participants performed three sets of isometric exercise in an upright position; they contracted their trapezius muscles with maximum effort and let the muscles relax (Relax). Autonomic nervous activity and oxygenation of the trapezius muscles were measured by heart rate variability (HRV) and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. RESULTS: Oxyhemoglobin and total hemoglobin of the trapezius muscles in the pain group were lower during the Relax period compared with the control group. In addition, the low frequency / high frequency (LF/HF) ratio of HRV significantly increased during isometric exercise in the control group, whereas there were no significant changes in the pain group. CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with neck and shoulder pain showed lower oxygenation and blood flow of the trapezius muscles responding to isometric exercise, compared with asymptomatic subjects. Subjects with neck and shoulder pain also showed no significant changes in the LF/HF ratio of HRV responding to isometric exercise, which would imply a reduction in sympathetic nervous activity.

Concepts: Energy, Muscle, Muscle contraction, Acetylcholine, Autonomic nervous system, Isometric exercise, Trapezius muscle, Clavicle


The gluteus medius muscle is essential for gait and hip stability. Changes that occur in the gluteus medius muscles in patients with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) are not well understood. A better understanding of DDH related changes will have positive repercussions toward hip soft tissue reconstruction.

Concepts: Tissues, Gluteus medius muscle


BACKGROUND: The most common mechanical failure in the internal fixation of trochanteric hip fractures is the cut-out of the sliding screw through the femoral head. Several factors that influence this complication have been suggested, but there is no consensus as to the relative importance of each factor.The purpose of this study was to analyse the cut-out complication with respect to the following variables: patients` age, fracture type, fracture reduction, implant positioning and implant design. METHODS: 3066 consecutive patients were treated for trochanteric fractures with Gamma Nails between 1990 and 2002 at the Centre de Traumatologie et de l`Orthopedie (CTO), Strasbourg, France. Cut-out complications were identified by reviewing all available case notes and radiographs. Subsequently, the data were analysed by a single reviewer (AJB) with focus on the studied factors. RESULTS: Seventy-one cut-out complications were found (2.3%) of the 3066 trochanteric fractures. Cut-out failure associated with avascular head necrosis, pathologic fracture, deep infection or secondary to prior failure of other implants were excluded from the study (14 cases). The remaining 57 cases (1.85 %, median age 82.6, 79% females) were believed to have a biomechanical explanation for the cut-out failure. 41 patients had a basicervical or complex fracture type. A majority of cut-outs (43 hips, 75%) had a combination of the critical factors studied; non-anatomical reduction, non-optimal lag screw position and the characteristic fracture pattern found. CONCLUSIONS: The primary cut-out rate of 1.85% was low compared with the literature. A typical cut-out complication in our study is represented by an unstable fracture involving the trochanteric and cervical regions or the combination of both, non-anatomical reduction and non-optimal screw position. Surgeons confronted with proximal femoral fractures should carefully scrutinize preoperative radiographs to assess the primary fracture geometry and fracture classification. To reduce the risk of a cut-out it is important to achieve both anatomical reduction and optimal lag screw position as these are the only two factors that can be controlled by the surgeon.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone fracture, Hip fracture, Hip replacement, Orthopedic surgery, Avascular necrosis, Cultural studies, Bone fractures


BACKGROUND: Leg pain associated with low back pain (LBP) is recognized as a risk factor for a poor prognosis, and is included as a component in most LBP classification systems. The location of leg pain relative to the knee and the presence of a positive straight leg raise test have been suggested to have clinical implications. To understand differences between such leg pain subgroups, and whether differences include potentially modifiable characteristics, the purpose of this paper was to describe characteristics of patients classified into the Quebec Task Force (QTF) subgroups of: 1) LBP only, 2) LBP and pain above the knee, 3) LBP and pain below the knee, and 4) LBP and signs of nerve root involvement. METHODS: Analysis of routine clinical data from an outpatient department. Based on patient reported data and clinical findings, patients were allocated to the QTF subgroups and described according to the domains of pain, activity limitation, work participation, psychology, general health and clinical examination findings. RESULTS: A total of 2,673 patients aged 18–95 years (median 47) who were referred for assessment of LBP were included. Increasing severity was consistently observed across the subgroups from LBP only to LBP with signs of nerve root involvement although subgroup differences were small. LBP patients with leg pain differed from those with LBP only on a wide variety of parameters, and patients with signs of nerve root involvement had a more severe profile on almost all measures compared with other patients with back-related leg pain. CONCLUSION: LBP patients with pain referral to the legs were more severely affected than those with local LBP, and patients with signs of nerve root involvement were the ones most severily affected. These findings underpin the concurrent validity of the Quebec Task Force Classification. However, the small size of many between-subgroup differences amid the large variability in this sample of cross-sectional data also underlines that the heterogeneity of patients with LBP is more complex than that which can be explained by leg pain patterns alone. The implications of the observed differences also require investigation in longitudinal studies.

Concepts: Longitudinal study, Epidemiology, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Cross-sectional study, Cross-sectional analysis, Straight leg raise, Cyclic group


BACKGROUND: Foot deformities and related problems of the forefoot are very common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The laxity of the medial cuneometatarsal joint and its synovitis are important factors in the development of forefoot deformity. The impaired joint causes the first metatarsal bone to become unstable in the frontal and sagittal planes. In this retrospective study we evaluated data of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who underwent Lapidus procedure. We evaluated the role of the instability in a group of patients, focusing mainly on the clinical symptoms and X-ray signs of the instability. METHODS: The study group included 125 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The indications of the Lapidus procedure were a hallux valgus deformity greater than 15 degrees and varus deformity of the first metatarsal bone with the intermetatarsal angle greater than 15 degrees on anterio-posterior weight-bearing X-ray. RESULTS: Data of 143 Lapidus procedures of 125 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who underwent surgery between 2004 and 2010 was evaluated. Signs and symptoms of the first metatarsal bone instability was found in 92 feet (64.3 %) in our group. The AOFAS score was 48.6 before and 87.6 six months after the foot reconstruction. Nonunion of the medial cuneometatarsal joint arthrodesis on X-rays occurred in seven feet (4.9 %). CONCLUSION: The Lapidus procedure provides the possibility to correct the first metatarsal bone varus position and its instability, as well as providing the possibility to achieve a painless foot for walking. We recommend using the procedure as a preventive surgery in poorly symptomatic patients with rheumatoid arthritis in case of the first metatarsal bone hypermobility.

Concepts: Foot, Bunion, Varus deformity, Rheumatoid arthritis, Arthritis, Skeletal disorders, Valgus deformity, Tarsus


BACKGROUND: Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of classical cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, obesity, glucose intolerance, and dyslipidemia is highly prevalent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of the study was to assess the frequency of metabolic syndrome (MS) in RA patients, and to evaluate the relationships between metabolic syndrome and RA. METHODS: The study was conducted on 120 RA patients according to the 1987 revised American College of Rheumatology classification criteria, and 100 age and sex matched apparently healthy controls. The frequency of metabolic syndrome was assessed using six Metabolic Syndrome definitions (Joint Consensus 2009, National Cholesterol Education Programme 2004 and 2001, International Diabetes Federation, World Health Organisation and European Group for Study of Insulin Resistance). Logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of metabolic Syndrome. RESULTS: the frequency of metabolic syndrome varied from 18 to 48.6% in RA according to the definition used and was significantly higher than controls (for all definitions p<0.05). In multivariate analysis, higher ESR was independently associated with the presence of Met S (OR =1.36; CI: 1.18--2.12; p = 0.03). Glucocorticoid use, but not other disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), values remained significant independent predictors of the presence of metabolic syndrome in RA patients (OR = 1.45; CI: 1.12--2.14; p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: In summary, the frequency of metabolic syndrome in RA varies according to the definition used and was significantly higher compared to controls (for all definitions p<0.05). Higher systemic inflammatory marker, and glucocorticoids use were independent predictors associated with the presence of metabolic syndrome in patients with RA. These findings suggest that physicians should screen for metabolic syndrome in patients with RA to control its components and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in these patients.

Concepts: Nutrition, Atherosclerosis, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Metabolic syndrome


BACKGROUND: Prolonged physical impairments in range of movement, postural stability and walking speed are commonly reported following total hip replacement (THR). It is unclear from the current body of evidence what kind of exercises should be performed to maximize patient function and quality of life.Methods/designThis will be a single blind multi centre randomized control trial with two arms. Seventy subjects post primary total hip arthroplasty will be randomized into either an experimental group (n=35), or to a control group (n=35).. The experimental group will attend a functional exercise class twice weekly for a six week period from week 12 to week 18 post surgery. The functional exercise group will follow a circuit based functional exercise class supervised by a chartered Physiotherapist. The control group will receive usual care. The principal investigator (BM) will perform blinded outcome assessments on all patients using validated measures for pain, stiffness, and function using the Western Ontario and Mc Master Universities Osteoarthritis index (WOMAC). This is the primary outcome measurement tool. Secondary outcome measurements include Quality of life (SF-36), 6 min walk test, Visual Analogue Scale, and the Berg Balance score. The WOMAC score will be collated on day five post surgery and repeated at week twelve and week eighteen. All other measurements will be taken at week 12 and repeated at week eighteen. In addition a blinded radiologist will measure gluteus medius cross sectional area using real time ultrasound for all subjects at week 12 and at week 18 to determine if the functional exercise programme has any effect on muscle size. DISCUSSION: This randomised controlled trial will add to the body of evidence on the relationship between muscle size, functional ability, balance, quality of life and time post surgery in patients following total hip arthroplasty. The CONSORT guidelines will be followed to throughout. Ethical approval has been gained from the Ethics committee Health Services Executive Dublin North East.Trial registrationThis trial is registered with (a service of the United States National Institutes of Health) identifier NCT01683201.

Concepts: Experimental design, Randomized controlled trial, Hip replacement, Hip, Pelvis, Orthopedic surgery, Joint replacement