Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physical Therapy & Athletic Training


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

J. L. Echternach

Committee Member

G. C. Maihafer

Committee Member

M. L. Walker


The American Medical Association (AMA) advocates using the inclinometer for the measurement of spinal motion. Clinicians however, have not yet adopted this method in practice. Much controversy exists within the health care community with regard to which measurement method is the most reliable. The purpose of this study was: (1) to clarify the work that has been performed to date and (2) to examine the intrarater and interrater reliability of the Saunders Electronic Inclinometer for the assessment of lumbar flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. The authors concluded that the SEI demonstrated moderate to good reliability for the assessment of standing lumbar flexion, extension and left rotation. Standing lumbar lateral flexion and right rotation however, demonstrated poor reliability. A significant limitation with the study was the difference in experience levels between the examiners. Results from this study suggest that the SEI should be investigated further for the measurement of the lumbar spine as well as for the cervical and thoracic spines.


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