Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 10, 2012
   Pages 1457 — 1466

Abstract — Physical activity and lower-back pain in persons with traumatic transfemoral amputation: A national cross-sectional survey

Hemakumar Devan, MPhty; Steve Tumilty, PhD; Cath Smith, PhD*

Centre for Physiotherapy Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Abstract–Lower-back pain (LBP) is a common secondary condition following lower-limb amputation. The purpose of this study was to investigate LBP prevalence and the relationship between LBP and physical activity (PA) levels in a national sample of persons with traumatic transfemoral amputation (TFA). Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of people with traumatic TFA (n = 322) from the New Zealand Artificial Limb Board national database. Of the participants who completed the survey (55% response rate), 64.1% reported LBP and 39.1% reported restricted PA due to LBP. There was no relationship between the PA levels of persons with and without LBP (chi-square = 2.11, p > 0.05). There was an equal distribution of persons with LBP in low, medium, and high PA subgroups. However, persons who reported restricted PA due to LBP had lower PA scores than persons with LBP and no restricted PA (chi-square = 11.56, p < 0.05). Based on our results, LBP is prevalent in the traumatic TFA population. PA levels are not influenced by the presence or absence of LBP. However, future studies investigating LBP coping strategies and using objective PA outcome measures might further elucidate the relationship between PA and LBP in this population.

Key words: activity, amputation, back pain, limb loss, lower-limb amputation, physical activity, prevalence, secondary complication, survey, trauma.

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