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Motion differences in a repetitive lifting task have been described previously using differences in the timing of body angle changes during the lift. These timing changes relied on small differences of motion and are difficult to measure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate shoulder jerk (rate of change of acceleration) in a repetitive lifting task as an alternative parameter to detect differences of motion between controls and chronic lower back pain (CLBP) patients and to measure the impact of a rehabilitation program on jerk. The jerk calculation was a noisy measure, since jerk is the third derivative of position; consequently a simulation was performed to evaluate smoothing methods. Woltring's generalized cross-validation spline produced the best estimates of the third derivative and was fit to subject data. The root mean square (rms) amplitude of jerk was used for comparison. Significant group differences were found. CLBP patients performed lifts with lower jerk values than controls and, as the task progressed, both groups increased jerk. After completion of a rehabilitation program, CLBP patients performed lifts with greater rms jerk. In general, patients performed lifts with lower jerk values than controls, suggesting that pain impacts lifting style.