Below is the original posting followed by a summary of the responses.


Brad Lawrence wrote:

> All,
> I am looking for human flexion range of motion data (and references) for
> the spine from C7 to S1 (the entire thoracolumbar spine), from T1 to T12
> (the thoracic spine), from L1 to L5 (the lumbar spine), and any
> individual joint level ROMs along C7 to S1. I am looking for in vivo
> values referenced from a neutral upright (vertical) posture with the
> pelvis fixed. I have performed some preliminary searches and found some
> in vitro lumbar ROMs (Yamamoto, Panjabi, et al.), but have had little
> luck in finding thoracic ROM studies or data (including in vitro). In
> addition I have found scores of abstracts describing different methods
> for measuring in vivo trunk flexion, however, the actual values and the
> method for pelvis fixation are rarely mentioned in the abstract. In
> order to reduce the scope of my lit search, I am hoping fellow
> researchers might point me to key references or data in this area of
> spinal research.
> Thanks, and I will post all responses,
> Brad Lawrence
> North Carolina State University

Hey, I think I can solve your problem!

There are some really good papers by Lutz & company in the Spine journal
on spine ROM. A good one in paticular is:

Are sheep Spines a Valid Biomechanical Model for Human Spine? SPINE
Vol22 #20,2365-2374 1997.

From here there are a couple of really good ref. too.

Bao-Khang Ngoc Nguyen


Hi Brad,

I did some work on measuring sagittal plane thoracolumbar segmental ROM
using videofluoroscopy when I was working at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in the
UK. You should be able
to borrow a copy of my thesis, which contains complete details of the method
and results:

HARVEY S B, 1999, Interactive computer methods for morphometric and
kinematic measurement of images of the spine, PhD thesis, University of
Aberdeen, UK.

There is also a published saggital plane thoracolumbar ROM study using
low-field MRI:

HARVEY S B, Smith F W and Hukins D W L, 1998, Measurement of lumbar spine
flexion-extension using a low-field open magnet MRI scanner, Invest Radiol
33: 439-443.

Hope this helps.


Steve Harvey PhD Email:
Nortel Technology Centre Phone: (02) 4223-3069
PO Box U87 Fax: (02) 4224-2801
University of Wollongong ESN: 639-3069
NSW 2500 Australia


It's not my field at all, but I came across this article preparing for a
viva with one of the authors, maybe it would be of some help:

McGregor AH, Cattermole HR, Hughes SPF "Spinal motion in lumbar degenerative

disc disease" (1998) JBJS 80-B (6) 1009-1013

they used ISLs in clinic to see if disease had any effect on ROM of the
lumbar spine.



Search for work by Pearcy or Mellin maybe. Also, this may or may not be of
help: BurtonAK, Tillotson
KM. Reference values for regional lumbar sagittal mobility. Clin Biomech
1988; 3: 106-113.

Kim Burton


Joint Motion: Method of Measuring and Recording. American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons: Chicago, 1965.

References in back of book and spine measures on page 86...

Steve Wolf


You should have a look to the work of M.J. Pearcy in the 80's on the in vivo

lumbar spine movement.
I have 3 refs for you :

-"Three-dimensional X-Ray Analysis of Normal Movement in the Lumbar Spine",
Mark Pearcy, Ian Portek, Janis Shepherd, Spine, 1984;9(3):294-300
-"Axial Rotation and Lateral Bending in the Normal Lumbar Spine Measured by
Three-Dimensional Radiography", M.J. Pearcy, Tibrewal S.B., Spine,
-"Axial Rotation of the Lumbar Spine and the Effect of Flexion. An in vitro
and in vivo Biomechanical Study", R. Gunzburg, W. Hutton, R. Fraser, Spine,

Could you please send me the answers from the others ?



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Eric Charrière
Laboratory of Applied Mechanics and Reliability Analysis
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
CH-1015 Lausanne Switzerland
Tel : +4121 693 3874
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Dear Brad
You could look up the work by Mike Troke who has used the spine motion
analyser to collect a normative data base of lumbar spine range of movement.

As far as I am aware there is no fixation of the pelvis, the fixation is on
the sacrum.
You will find an article by Mike in Manual Therapy 3 (1) in 1998. I have
sent a copy of this e mail and he may send his other publications


Nikki Petty MSc, Grad Dip Manip Ther, MCSP, MMPAA, MMACP
Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for MSc Manipulative Physiotherapy
School of Healthcare Professions
University of Brighton
Robert Dodd Building
49 Darley Road
BN20 7UR

Telephone 01273 643775
Fax 01273 643652
e mail

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