Changes in Spinal Height Supine and Walking in Subjects with and without Lower Back Pain

Date of Award

Spring 4-1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

John L. Echternach

Committee Member

George Maihafer

Committee Member

Martha Walker

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45 G74


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop and test a device that could be used in clinical situations to measure spinal height in subjects with lower back pain.

Introduction: Spinal height measurement provides information on the impact of spinal loading on the intervertebral disc. The stadiometer is presently the most accurate device for this purpose but users of the device must be trained to be measured. This excludes untrainable subjects such as those with lower back pain. For this study, a new ins1rument was developed combining aspects of the stadiometer and other devices to produce a simpler method of measurement.

Methods: A sample of 40 subjects with lower back pain were compared to a group of 40 subjects without lower back pain. Five measurements were taken at 4 minute intervals while the subject was in a semi-Fowler's position. Three measurements were then taken at 4 minute intervals while the subject walked. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to assess differences between groups for position and time of measurement effects.

Results: No significant differences were found in spinal height between groups for any of the measurement intervals using the new instrument.

Conclusions: The measuring device, investigated in this study, demonstrated no differences in spinal height between subjects with and without lower back pain when supine and walking.


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