Twenty-nine lumbosacral asymptomatic and 39 symptomatic patients who attended a chiropractic clinic were examined by a practitioner who was blinded to their symptoms. Seven lumbosacral orthopedic tests, along with the arm-fossa test were scrutinized for sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic competency values. Only the arm-fossa test and heel-buttock tests had a significantly higher percentage of positive findings in symptomatic than asymptomatic cases. These same tests were the only ones which could be considered to have an acceptable diagnostic value, when both the sensitivity and specificity were taken into consideration by Youden's index. The number of positive tests was unrelated to the presence of lumbosacral symptoms. Orthopedic tests which appeared to strain several adjacent anatomical structures were most commonly positive. No particular combination of tests could predict if the patient was symptomatic or asymptomatic. Only the heel-buttock test had some predictive value. It appears that these tests were of limited value in differentiating between the symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects who attended the study clinic.
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