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Man Ther. 2012 Apr;17(2):157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Differences in end-range lumbar flexion during slumped sitting and forward bending between low back pain subgroups and genders.

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Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Patterns of lumbar posture and motion are associated with low back pain (LBP). Research suggests LBP subgroups demonstrate different patterns during common tasks. This study assessed differences in end-range lumbar flexion during two tasks between two LBP subgroups classified according to the Movement System Impairment model. Additionally, the impact of gender differences on subgroup differences was assessed. Kinematic data were collected. Subjects in the Rotation (Rot) and Rotation with Extension (RotExt) LBP subgroups were asked to sit slumped and bend forward from standing. Lumbar end-range flexion was calculated. Subjects reported symptom behaviour during each test. Compared to the RotExt subgroup, the Rot subgroup demonstrated greater end-range lumbar flexion during slumped sitting and a trend towards greater end-range lumbar flexion with forward bending. Compared to females, males demonstrated greater end-range lumbar flexion during slumped sitting and forward bending. A greater proportion of people in the Rot subgroup reported symptoms with each test compared to the RotExt subgroup. Males and females were equally likely to report symptoms with each test. Gender differences were not responsible for LBP subgroup differences. Subgrouping people with LBP provides insight into differences in lumbar motion within the LBP population. Results suggesting potential consistent differences across flexion-related tasks support the presence of stereotypical movement patterns that are related to LBP.

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