Repeatability of four clinical methods for assessment of lumbar spinal motion

K. Gill, M. H. Krag, G. B. Johnson, L. D. Haugh, M. H. Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Spinal motion usually Is recorded from subjective observation of the fully flexed trunk using a goniometer or the distance from the fingertips to the floor. To quantify functional Improvement In the low-back pain patient, the repeatability of four clinical techniques was studied: the common flngertip-to-floor distance; the modified Schober; the two-inclinometer method, and a photometric technique. Ten normal subjects (five men, five women), ages 24 to 34 years old, were examined In full flexion, full extension, and the erect position, both standing and sitting. Repeatability was poor for the fingertip-to-floor method in ail postures and for the two-incllnometer method in full flexion. Although other methods for various postures had good repeatability, the modified Schober method of determining lumbar spinal motion was the most repeatable and is recommended for a routine, noninva- sive, clinical evaluation of lumbar spinal motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-53
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Evaluation methods
  • Low-back pain
  • Reproducibility
  • Spinal motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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