Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Efficacy of movement control exercises versus general exercises on recurrent sub-acute nonspecific low back pain in a sub-group of patients with movement control dysfunction. protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Vesa Lehtola1*, Hannu Luomajoki2, Ville Leinonen3, Sean Gibbons4 and Olavi Airaksinen5

Author affiliations

1 Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland

2 Zürich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW, Institut for Physiotherapy, Winterthur, Switzerland

3 Neurosurgery of NeuroCenter, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland

4 SMARTERehab, Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Institute, Newfoundland, Canada

5 Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Clinical Medicine and Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-55

Published: 11 April 2012



Practice guidelines recommend various types of exercise for chronic back pain but there have been few head-to-head comparisons of these interventions. General exercise seems to be an effective option for management of chronic low back pain (LBP) but very little is known about the management of a sub-acute LBP within sub-groups.

Recent research has developed clinical tests to identify a subgroup of patients with chronic non-specific LBP who have movement control dysfunction (MD).


We are conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to compare the effects of general exercise and specific movement control exercise (SMCE) on disability and function in patients with MD within recurrent sub-acute LBP. The main outcome measure is the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire.


European clinical guideline for management of chronic LBP recommends that more research is required to develop tools to improve the classification and identification of specific clinical sub-groups of chronic LBP patients. Good quality RCTs are then needed to determine the effectiveness of specific interventions aimed at these specific target groups. This RCT aims to test the hypothesis whether patients within a sub-group of MD benefit more through a specific individually tailored movement control exercise program than through general exercises.