Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

School of Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Rita Nacken Gugel

Second Advisor

Bernard Brucker

Third Advisor

Fred Dembowski

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of the Clarkson and Gilewich manual muscle test of trunk flexion and rotation to predict abdominal muscle strength and function in patients with low back pain. In examining movement and function, physical therapists routinely test muscle strength.

The participants consisted of thirty-one adults with complaints of low back pain. For each subject, five tests were conducted. A manual muscle test of trunk flexion and rotation, dynamometer measurement of trunk flexion strength, and lumbar stabilization during a partial curl up and single leg slide were performed. Pearson product correlational statistics were calculated to test each hypothesis.

Analysis of the results revealed no significant correlation between any of the tests. In addition, test results did not significantly correlate with the subject's pain level. Results of the study demonstrated that the manual muscle test of trunk flexion did not significantly correlate with actual abdominal strength. This clearly indicates that there is no predictive validity in using the trunk flexion manual muscle test to predict abdominal strength. The clinician that uses the trunk flexion manual muscle test for predicting actual abdominal muscle strength needs to reconsider this practice.

It is apparent that the trunk flexion or rotation manual muscle test cannot be used to the abdominal muscle's ability to stabilize the lumbar spine. Stabilization is a complex neuromuscular skill. It appears that it can only be quantified through functional tests that measure an individual's ability to maintain a neutral spine.

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