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Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Movement Coordination of the Lumbar Spine and Hip During an Everyday Activity

Shum, Gary L. K. BSc*†; Crosbie, Jack PhD*; Lee, Raymond Y. W.‡


Study Design. This experimental study analyzed the movements of the lumbar spine and hip while putting on a sock.

Objectives. To examine differences in kinematics and coordination of the lumbar and hip movements in subjects with and without subacute low back pain.

Summary of Background Data. There is no information on the coordination of movements of lumbar spine and hips during activities of daily living such as putting on a sock. The effect of low back pain, with or without nerve root signs, is unknown.

Methods. A real-time three-dimensional electromagnetic tracking device was used to measure movements of the lumbar spine and hips in 60 subacute low back pain subjects with or without straight leg raise (SLR) signs and 20 asymptomatic subjects. Movement coordination between the two regions was examined by cross-correlation.

Results. Mobility was significantly reduced in back pain subjects. Symptomatic subjects compensated for limited motion through various strategies, but in all cases the contribution of the lumbar spine relative to that of the hip was significantly reduced. The lumbar spine-hip joint coordination was substantially altered in back pain subjects, in particular, when putting on a sock on the side with positive SLR sign.

Conclusion. Changes in the lumbar and hip kinematics when putting on a sock were related to back pain and limitation in SLR. Low back pain will affect lumbar-hip coordination.

In Brief

The ranges of movement of the lumbar spine and hips were significantly limited when putting on a sock in back pain subjects when compared with healthy subjects. The lumbar spine-hip joint coordination was significantly altered in back pain subjects, in particular, those with positive straight leg raise sign.

Author Information

From the *School of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; †Physiotherapy Department, United Christian Hospital, Hong Kong; and ‡School of Health Professions, University of Brighton, Brighton, U.K.

Acknowledgment date: March 15, 2005. First revision date: June 6, 2005. Acceptance date: June 7, 2005.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Raymond Y. W. Lee, PhD, Professor of Clinical Biomechanics, Clinical Research Centre, School of Health Professions, University of Brighton, Aldro Building, 49 Darley Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 7UR, United Kingdom; E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.