Objective: The purposes of this study were to determine the reliability of using a skin-surface device to measure global and segmental thoracic and lumbar spine motion in participants with and without low back pain (LBP) and to compare global thoracic and lumbar motion between the 2 groups.
Methods: Forty participants were included in the study (20 adults with LBP and 20 age- and sex-matched adults without LBP). On the same day, 2 raters independently measured thoracic and lumbar spine motion by rolling a skin-surface device along the spine from C7 to S3, with participants at their end range of standing flexion and extension.
Results: In participants with LBP, global thoracic and lumbar flexion and extension end-range motion testing yielded fair-to-high intrarater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.76-0.96) and good-to-high interrater reliability (ICC = 0.82-0.98). Interrater reliability was fair to high (ICC = 0.77-0.93) for segmental lumbar flexion measurements in participants with LBP. No significant differences were found in global thoracic and lumbar flexion or extension end-range mobility between participants with and without LBP.
Conclusions: Global thoracic and lumbar end-range motion measurement using a skin-surface device has acceptable reliability for participants with LBP. Reliability for segmental end-range motion measurement was only acceptable for lumbar flexion in participants with LBP.
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