Correlation of Objective Measure of Trunk Motion and Muscle Function with Low-back Disability Ratings

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A study was undertaken to examine relations among some objective and subjective measures of low-back-related disability in a group of 41 low-back pain patients and in seven pain-free control subjects. Subjective measures of disability were obtained by Oswestry patient questionnaires. Oswestry disability score related significantly (P <0.001) to presence or absence of relaxation in back muscles during flexion. Mean trunk strength ratios were inversely related to disability score (P <.05), and trunk mobility was meaningfully reduced (P <.01). Despite loss of motion, a large enough excursion was observed to predict presence of back muscle relaxation. These findings imply that myoelectric signal levels, trunk strength ratios, and ranges of trunk motion may be used as objective indicators of low-back pain disability.

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