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Quantification of Lumbar Function: Part 2: Sagittal Plane Trunk Strength in Chronic Low-Back Pain Patients

MAYER, TOM G., MD*; SMITH, SUSAN S., MS, PT*; KEELEY, JANICE, PT; MOONEY, VERT, MD*

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A prototype sagittal plane trunk strength tester was used to measure trunk strength in 286 chronic low-back pain patients. Initial data for this patient group are compared with data acquired previously from a group of controls, adjusted for age, sex, and body weight. Distinct patterns characterize the patient sample as opposed to the controls: (1) Patient values for both flexors and extensors were markedly decreased, with greater variability; (2) Extensor strength was affected more significantly than flexor strength; (3) Discrepancies between patients and controls were greater for females than for males; (4) Highspeed dropoff ratios were much lower for patients, both in flexion and extension. These results demonstrate that strength deficits are a major factor in the deconditioning syndrome associated with chronic low-back pain.

*From the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas, Texas

†From the Productive Rehabilitation Institute of Dallas for Ergonomics, Dallas, Texas

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.