Examination of Low Back Pain
- Author: Bradley J Sandella, DO, ATC; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS more...
A standardized clinical examination of the lumbar spine is critical in the evaluation of patients with low back pain. Progressing in an orderly fashion through the different components of the examination ensures accuracy and repeatability.
Every examination should include inspection of the spine followed by active and passive range-of-motion testing, as well as manual muscle testing at the hip and spine. Finally, special testing and palpation are used to confirm findings appreciated earlier in the examination.
See Back Pain: Find the Cause, Watch for the Comeback, a Critical Images slideshow, to help diagnose and manage this common problem.
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|L1||Hip flexion||Anterior lateral thigh||None|
|L2||Hip flexion and adduction||Anterior medial thigh||None|
|L3||Knee extension||Distal medial thigh and knee||None|
|L4||Ankle dorsiflexion||Medial malleolus||Patella tendon|
|L5||Toe extension (great toe)||Dorsum of the foot||None|
|S1||Ankle plantar flexion and eversion||Lateral calcaneus and foot||Achilles tendon|