The purpose of this study was to identify strength and flexibility deficits in subjects with chronic low-back pain (CLBP). Subjects were 16 female Division I athletes: 8 athletes who had experienced CLBP for at least 6 months prior to testing and a control group of 8 matched subjects. Athletes with neurological symptoms, previous back operations, and leg length discrepancies and those who were diagnosed with scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, or spondylolysis were excluded from this study. Variables assessed included abdominal strength, erector spinae endurance, hip flexion and extension endurance, torso lateral flexibility, and low-back flexibility. Strength and endurance were calculated as a function of time in seconds. Goniometric measurements were used to determine flexibility. Significant mean differences were found by using dependent t tests for abdominal strength, erector Spinae endurance, hip extension, and right lateral flexion of the torso. The results validate the necessity for pelvic stabilization and indicate that strength and flexibility deficits vary among populations.
Kathleen J. Ashmen is with the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Sports Medicine Program, 169 Trees Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. C. Buz Swanik is a doctoral student in the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Sports Medicine Program, University of Pittsburgh. Scott M. Lephart is with the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Sports Medicine Program, University of Pittsburgh.