Fifty-eight back pain patients and 21 entry-level Postal Service workers without low-back pain were evaluated using a variety of lumbar function measures. Isolated trunk strength and full lifting Strength were gauged with isokinetic find isometric methods. Lumber range-of-motion was computed using toe-touch and goniometers. Conventional clinical techniques such as toe touch and straight leg raise were effective in distinguishing back-injured from normal subjects, isometric and isokinetic peak force and torque tests failed to show significant differences between low-hack pain and Job applicant groups. When compared with published norms, cur job applicant group was significantly deconditioned Our data suggest that asymptomatic, deconditioned subject could be mistaken for back-impaired patients or symptom magnifiers.