Range of motion and lordosis of the lumbar spine: Reliability of measurement and normative values

Joseph Kim Fai Ng, Vaughan Kippers, Carolyn A. Richardson, Mohamad Parnianpour

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design. Repeated measures for intratester reliability were performed. Objectives. To investigate the intratester reliability of a new measurement technique that evaluates lumbar range of motion in three planes using a pelvic restraint device, and to examine the reliability of lumbar lordosis measurement by inclinometer technique. Preliminary normative data on lumbar range of motion and lumbar lordosis were collected for comparison with the findings of previous studies. Summary of Background Data. Various noninvasive measurement methods have been developed for recording lumbar range of motion. However, pelvic movement was not effectively restricted during the use of these measurement techniques. The use of the pelvic restraint device to measure lumbar range of motion has not been investigated previously. Very few studies have investigated the reliability of quantifying lumbar lordosis by the inclinometer technique. Methods. Normative values were measured in 35 healthy men, and 12 of these subjects were included for the reliability study. Pelvic motion was limited by the pelvic restraint device during lumbar range of motion measurement in standing, An inclinometer was used for evaluation of lumbar flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and lumbar lordosis, whereas a lumbar rotameter was used to measure axial rotation. Results. Good intratester reliability was shown in the lumbar range of motion and lordosis measurement. Most of the intraclass correlation coefficient and Pearson's r values (accompanied with nonsignificant paired t tests) were greater than 0.9, and most of the intrasubject coefficients of variation were less than 10%. The values of lumbar range of motion in three planes and lumbar lordosis found in the current study were comparable with those from most of the previous studies on these measurements in the normal population. Conclusions. Inclinometer and lumbar rotameter measurements with the use of a pelvic restraint devine are reliable for measuring lumbar spine range of motion. Use of the inclinometer technique to record lumbar lordosis also is a reliable measure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Impairment
  • Inclinometer
  • Lordosis
  • Lumbar spine
  • Range of motion
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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