Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

New Equipment Tested for Reliability of Spinal Strength and Motion Measurements

Every study has a who, what, where, and why. In this report researchers assess the lumbar strength and motion (what) of 61 healthy adults (who). All subjects were students or employees of a university hospital in Belgium (where). The goal was to use commercially available equipment to check the reliability compared to other testing devices (why).

Knowing normal lumbar range of motion (ROM) and strength values helps physical therapists evaluate patients with back pain. It allows monitoring of response after treatment. It may even help identify people who are at risk for low back pain (LBP).

The Tergumed equipment was tested because it is often used in Europe to assess and train patients with LBP. It's also used for physical training with healthy adults who don't have LBP. Each person did two sets of exercise trials on the same machine. They were supervised by a different therapist each time.

Test results showed decreased motion and strength with age. Tall men have greater spine extension compared to others. In general, men have greater strength than women. Everyone had better test results for the second test trial. This finding indicates there was a learning effect. Therefore it's better to use the best results out of three trials rather than using the first test results (or only testing one time).

Before testing normal adults for back strength and motion it's important to make sure the testing devices are accurate and reliable. Tergumed equipment is reliable in its measurements. However, ROM is measured in centimeters instead of the more standard degrees. For this reason it will be difficult to compare the results of testing from Tergumed equipment with other devices.


Nathalie Roussel, MT, PT, et al. Reliability of the Assessment of Lumbar Range of Motion and Maximal Isometric Strength. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. April 2006. Vol. 87. No. 4. Pp. 576-582.

05/18/2006

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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