Lumbar Range of Motion
While some patients might be in a lot of pain and hesitant to move their back, having a patient move to assess the Lumbar Range of Motion is crucial to a physiotherapist. Normal amounts are –
- Flexion (73-40 degrees) declines noted with age.
- Lateral flexion (28-14 degrees, L&R) declined with age.
- The extension (29-6 degrees) declined the greatest at 79% with age.
- No decline in axial rotational (7%) way across the age spectrum.
The range of motion for the lumbar spine should be symmetrical on either side. When examining a patient’s lumbar range of motion we are not just checking if they have adequate motion, but also to make sure that range is symmetrical. A person’s range will also be dependent of the activities that they partake in. For example, somebody who just does general walking will need less range than a person who plays tennis. Therefore each patient should be assessed as an individual and not just what the textbook says is normal.
What does it Involve?
Firstly, a physiotherapist will take a good history. When diagnosing an injury, taking a complete history is one of the most important parts. Information is taken regarding their pain, pain patterns, mechanism of injury
if it has occurred in the past and if it has, what helped them, what helps to decrease the pain and what makes it worse.
The physio will then move on to the assessment. Your spine is made to move, therefore the therapist will ask the patient to bend and flex into certain key positions. They will be looking at how much movement is available in each spinal joint. They will look at what compensations you may have if one area is not moving as it should. Lastly and most importantly, how the patient feels throughout. This includes when they get pain, how much pain, and the type of pain.
Why a Lumbar Range of Motion needs to be done?
Knowing the type of pain and where the pain is throughout the assessment allows the physiotherapist to determine potential sources or causes of the patient’s pain. From just listening to what the patient says and observing how they move they can differentiate whether the injury is likely disc, bone, joint, neural or muscular in nature.
Once the history has been taken, and the range of motion assessment is complete, your physio will then develop a diagnosis and a treatment plan. This may include anything from massage, needling, shockwave, exercise, scans and more.
If you have a spine injury contact us today to book in with one of our physios.
Blog is written by our physio Lachlan.