Study Design: prospective fluoroscopic and electromyographic study of coronal plane lumbar spine motion in healthy male volunteers.<br/><br/>Objectives: assess the intervertebral motion profiles in healthy volunteers for symmetry, regularity, and neutral zone laxity during passive recumbent lateral bending motion.<br/><br/>Summary of background data: previous continuous in vivo motion studies of the lumbar spine have mainly been limited to active, weight-bearing, flexion-extension (sagittal plane) motion. No data are available for passive lateral bending or to indicate the motion profiles when muscle activity is minimized.<br/><br/>Methods: thirty asymptomatic male volunteers underwent video-fluoroscopy of their lumbar spines during passive, recumbent lumbar lateral bending through 80° using a motor-driven motion table. Approximately 120 consecutive images of segments L2–L5 were captured, and the position of each vertebra was tracked throughout the sequence using automated frame-to-frame registration. Reference intervals for intervertebral motion parameters were calculated. Surface electromyography recordings of erector spinae were obtained in a similar group of volunteers using the same protocol without fluoroscopy to determine to what extent the motion was completely passive.<br/><br/>Results: correlations between intervertebral and lumbar motion were always positive in controls and asymmetry was less than 55% of intervertebral range. The upper reference interval for the slope of intervertebral rotation in the first 10° of trunk motion did not exceed 0.46 for any level. Muscle electrical activity during the motion<br/>was very low. Examples from patient studies showed markedly different results.<br/><br/>Conclusion: these results suggest that reference limits from asymptomatic data for coronal plane passive recumbent intervertebral motion may be a useful resource for<br/>investigating the relationship between symptoms of chronic (nonspecific) low back pain and biomechanics and in the clinical assessment of patients and interventions<br/>that target the passive holding elements of the spine. Data pooling from multiple studies would be necessary to establish a complete database<br/
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