Objective: To examine the correlation between hamstring flexibility and hip and lumbar spine joint excursions during standardized reaching and forward-bending tasks.
Design: Retrospective analysis of data obtained during 2 previous prospective studies that examined kinematics and kinetics during forward-reaching tasks in participants with and without low back pain (LBP).
Setting: The 2 previous studies were conducted in the Motor Control Lab at Ohio University and the Orthopaedic Ergonomics Laboratory at The Ohio State University.
Participants: Data from a total of 122 subjects from 2 previous studies: study 1: 86 subjects recovered from an episode of acute LBP (recovered) and study 2 (A.I. McCallum, unpublished data): 18 chronic LBP subjects and 18 healthy-matched controls (healthy).
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measure: Correlation values between hamstring flexibility as measured by straight leg raise (SLR) and amount of hip and lumbar spine joint excursions used during standardized reaching and forward-bending tasks.
Results: No significant correlation was found between hamstring flexibility and hip and lumbar joint excursions during forward-bending tasks in the LBP or recovered groups. The SLR had a significant negative correlation with lumbar spine excursions during reaching tasks to a low target in the healthy group (right SLR: P=.011, left SLR: P=.004).
Conclusions: Hamstring flexibility is not strongly related to the amount of lumbar flexion used to perform forward-reaching tasks in participants who have chronic LBP or who have recovered from LBP. More research needs to be conducted to examine the influence of hamstring flexibility on observed movement patterns to further evaluate the efficacy of flexibility training in the rehabilitation of patients with LBP.
Copyright 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.