Normal range of spinal mobility for healthy young adult Turkish men

Rheumatol Int. 2012 Aug;32(8):2265-9. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-1953-4. Epub 2011 May 5.


Anthropometric characteristics may vary among human populations, especially with differences in race. The aim of the present study is to find normal values of some measures (chest expansion, Schober's test and modified Schober's test) frequently used in the assessment of patients with ankylosing spondylitis, in young adult Turkish men. Initial recruitment identified 2,925 healthy male participants aged 20-30 years, and the final study sample included 1,982 of them. Participants joined the research from all cities except one in Turkey. The measurements of chest expansion, Schober's test, and modified Schober's test were performed by the same researcher using a plastic measuring tape. The mean (±standard error) values of the chest expansion, Schober's test, and modified Schober's test were 6.11 (±0.02), 5.62 (±0.02), and 7.78 (±0.02) cm, respectively. The estimated normal lower bounds for chest expansion, Schober's test, and modified Schober's test may be between 3.71-3.86 cm, 3.86-3.97 cm, and 5.46-5.60 cm, respectively, for young adult Turkish men. No correlation was found between height and spinal mobility. The normal values for spinal mobility in this sample of healthy young adult Turkish men differed from those reported for other young adult male populations (chest expansion ≥5 cm, Schober's test >5 cm, modified Schober's test >7 cm). It is thus useful to consider nationality in interpreting results of spinal mobility tests.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exhalation
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Posture
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reference Values
  • Sacrum / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology
  • Thoracic Wall / physiology
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult