Repeatability of four clinical methods for assessment of lumbar spinal motion

K. Gill, M. H. Krag, G. B. Johnson, L. D. Haugh, M. H. Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Scopus citations


Spinal motion usually is recorded from subjective observation of the fully flexed trunk using a goniometer or the distance from the fingertips to the floor. To quantify functional improvement in the low-back pain patient, the repeatability of four clinical techniques was studied: the common fingertip-to-floor distance; the modified Schober; the two-inclinometer method, and a photometric technique. Ten normal subjects (five men, five women), ages 24 to 34 years old, were examined in full flexion, full extension, and the erect position, both standing and sitting. Repeatability was poor for the fingertip-to-floor method in all postures and for the two-inclinometer method in full flexion. Although other methods for various postures had good repeatability, the modified Schober method of determining lumbar spinal motion was the most repeatable and is recommended for a routine, noninvasive, clinical evaluation of lumbar spinal motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-53
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Gill, K., Krag, M. H., Johnson, G. B., Haugh, L. D., & Pope, M. H. (1988). Repeatability of four clinical methods for assessment of lumbar spinal motion. Spine, 13(1), 50-53.