OBJECTIVE: Study 1. To compare paraspinal soft-tissue compliance in asymptomatic (healthy) adults with children and to define reference values in children. Study 2. To determine whether the reference values in asymptomatic children differ from children with juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA).
STUDY DESIGN: A tissue-pressure-compliance meter (TPCM) was used in the paraspinal region of 69 asymptomatic children, 28 asymptomatic adults and in 57 children with JCA. The tissue compliance was assessed paraspinally at level C6, T1, T3, T6, T10, L3 and L5.
MAIN FINDINGS: Study 1: Differences between asymptomatic children and adults were not significant, except for the thoracolumbar junction, i.e., area T10, L1 and L3. Asymptomatic men showed a greater amount of displacement at area C6; adult asymptomatic women at area L3 and L5. The cervical and lumbar areas were shown to have the greatest amount of displacement and the thoracic area the least. Study 2. No significant differences were found between the compliance of the JCA group and the asymptomatic group, except for paraspinal area L3.
CONCLUSION: Study 1. The curvature within the spinal region in adults and children may have influenced the amount of soft-tissue displacement; sexual maturation may have affected soft-tissue displacement as well. Study 2. Paraspinal soft-tissue compliance exhibited no alterations in JCA that could be segmentally related to inflamed joints.
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