Activity monitoring and disability in people with chronic low back pain

C. G. Ryan, H. G. Gray, M. Newton, M. H. Granat

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between self reported disability, physical performance testing (PPT) and everyday physical activity in people with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP).

Background: Disability is currently assessed using self-report and PPT. Little is known about the relationship between these two constructs and everyday physical activity. Increased knowledge of the relationship may enhance understanding of disability, and lead to the development of more robust methods of disability measurement.

Methods: A group of 30 (20f10m) people with non-specific CLBP completed the Roland Morris Disability questionnaire (RMDQ) [self-report], and performed two PPTs (5min walk test, 50ft walk test). Each participant then wore a physical activity monitor for a one week period and mean daily step count was calculated. Correlations were performed between self-report, performance testing and activity monitoring.

Results: Relatively weak but statistically significant relationships were found between the three measurement techniques. The strongest relationship existed between the RMDQ and step count (r= −0.494, p=0.006). Step count was also related to performance on the 50ft walk test (r=−.393, (p=0.032). While the relationship between the overall RMDQ score and physical performance did not reach significance, a significant relationship did exist between the 50ft walk test and the third question in the RMDQ (r=0.369, p=0.045), which specifically questions perceived walking behaviour.

Conclusion: Everyday physical activity is related to self-reported disability and physical performance capacity. As such, activity monitoring may be a useful objective adjunct to current techniques used to assess disability in people with CLBP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue numberSupp_III
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


  • back pain
  • activity monitoring
  • disability


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