Original Article: PDF OnlyFunctional Radiographic Diagnosis of the Lumbar Spine Flexion—Extension and Lateral BendingDVOŘÁK, J MD*; PANJABI, M M PhD‡; CHANG, D G BS‡; THEILER, R MD*; GROB, D MD†Author Information *From the Departments of Neurology Spine Unit of Wilhelm Schulthess Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland †From the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Unit of Wilhelm Schulthess Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland ‡From the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut Spine: May 1991 - Volume 16 - Issue 5 - p 562-571 Buy Abstract Several attempts have been made to measure the segmental range of motion in the lumbar spine during flexion–extension with the purpose of gathering additional data for the diagnosis of instability. The previous studies were performed in vitro or in vivo during active motion. The aim of this study was to obtain normal values of passively performed segmental motions. Forty-one healthy adults were examined by means of functional radiographs during flexion–extension and lateral bending. A graphic construction method and a computerassisted method were used to measure rotations. Comparing with recent in vivo studies, the values obtained for normal angles of rotation were predominately larger. This might be due to the passive examination used in the study. The graphic construction method and computerassisted method techniques are equally reliable, but the computer-assisted method method yields other important kinematic data, such as translations. It is proposed that passive motion be applied during functional examination of patients with suspected instabilities. However, the large variation of rotational values between individuals in the normal population may limit the clinical usefulness of functional lumbar analysis using this parameter. Future studies should explore the clinical relevance of determining altered segmental mobility in low-back pain patients. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.