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Treating low back pain in athletes: a systematic review with meta-analysis
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  • Published on:
    Letter in response to: “Treating low back pain in athletes: a systematic review with meta-analysis” by Tornton et al.
    • Min Cheol Chang, Physiatrist College of Medicine, Yeungnam University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Kyu Hwan Choi, Physiatrist

    Thornton et al.’s “Treating low back pain in athletes: a systematic review with meta-analysis”1 was an interesting read. It was an excellent review that systematically summarized various methods of non-pharmacological conservative management of low back pain in athletes. In particular, this paper analyzed the impact of exercise on low back pain through a meta-analysis of four previous studies.2-5 The meta-analysis was performed using a visual analogue scale and data on disability as outcomes.
    However, we found a few problems with this meta-analysis. First, the authors performed a meta-analysis of the effects of exercise by dividing participants into an exercise group and a control group as shown in Figure 3 of their article. The patients in the exercise group performed specific exercises (periodized resistance training, core stabilization exercise, Swiss ball exercise), while the control group performed another form of exercise (regular recreational activity, conventional lumbar flexion‒extension exercise, exercise on a stable surface) or rested without any exercise. Nevertheless, to investigate the effects of exercise, the authors should have divided patients who performed exercise into an exercise group and a non-exercise group, as a control group, for comparison. However, in the meta-analysis of Tornton et al.’s study, the control group had engaged in exercise in three studies2-4, and had only rested in one study.5 Furthermore, if their intention was to investigat...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.