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6 Commonly Used Performance Tests in Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

A look at the clinically important differences of the 6MWT, 1MSCT, and JAM for assessing MSK conditions.

A PPM Brief

In a recent study,1 researchers examined the Minimal Clinically Important Difference (MCID) for six commonly used functional tests used to measure performance in patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. These tests included: the 6-min walk test (6MWT), the Steep Ramp Test (SRT), the 1-min stair climbing test, the sit-to-stand test (STS), the Jamar dynamometer test (JAM), and the lumbar Progressive Isoinertial Lifting Evaluation (PILE).     

Approximately 838 patients with upper-limb, lower-limb, or neck/back lesions were evaluated over 21 months in a single-center prospective observational study conducted in Switzerland. MCID was determined with the anchor-based method as a reference method, and the distribution-based and opinion-based approaches as concomitant methods to supplement MCID determination.

The 6MWT, 1MSCT, and JAM may offer new assessment options for patients with MSK conditions. (Source: 123RF)

MCID estimates were determined to be:

  • +75m and +60m for the 6MWT (lower-limb and neck/back lesions, respectively)
  • +18 steps for the 1MSCT (lower-limb and neck/back lesions, respectively)
  • +6kg for the JAM (upper-limb lesion)
  • +39w to +61w for the SRT
  • -5 seconds to -7 seconds for the STS
  • +4kg to +7kg for PILE.

These results displayed the viability of using the 6MWT, 1MSCT, and JAM as potential interventions for managing chronic musculoskeletal pain. It was demonstrated that the estimation method and location of the lesion greatly impacted results. Usage of different anchors may offer a future source of more precise MCID estimation.

“The above MCID estimations for the 6MWT, 1MSCT and JAM can be used in chronic musculoskeletal pain patients participating in vocational multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs or in therapeutic trials,” the authors concluded. 

-Reporting by Cornelius Muntazar

Last updated on: February 28, 2019
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