Over 80% of the population will be affected by low back pain at some point in their life. 25% have suffered low back pain in the last 3 months alone! Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and lost production in this country. Solutions to the problem aren’t often easy and far too many people are left looking for answers for why their back always hurts. Low back pain is a REALLY BIG DEAL! Keeping your low back HEALTHY should be a PRIORITY!
If you struggle with low back pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know WHY your back always hurts? Or maybe, if you’re one of the lucky ones not currently in pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know your low back pain risk and what you need to do to prevent it?
Now you can by taking the test and trying these 5 tests at home! Why these 5 tests? These 5 tests are the most basic, functional movements of the low back. Every healthy person should be able to perform these tests!
So here’s how it goes. Perform each test below – some may need the help of a partner. Rate yourself by the grading chart for each test. Add the scores together at the end to get your score. Follow the directions to fix your low back!
Let’s get started!
TEST #1: Straight Leg Raiser
You will need a partner for this. Download a “bubble level” app on your phone. Make sure the app measures angle as well. There are a ton of free ones out there that work well for this. I recommend “Clinometer” for Android and “iHandy Level Free” for iPhones.
Lie on your back with feet extended out in front. Place the phone with the bubble app open in the middle of the shin. One leg at a time, have your partner lift the leg with the knee straight. Move the leg until it can no longer stretch or the hip or opposing leg starts to lift off the ground. Record the degree.
85-90 Degrees = 2 Points 75-84 Degrees = 1 Point Less Than 74 degrees = 0 Points
TEST #2: Knee-To-Chest
While still laying on your back, one leg at a time, pull your knee to your chest. The front of the leg should touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pinch in the anterior hip. If you cannot get the front of your leg to touch your chest, measure how far away by placing fingers between your chest and leg. Record the distance.
Leg Flat On Chest W/ No Anterior Hip Pinch = 0 Points Leg 1-3 Fingers From Chest = 1 Point Leg More Than 4 Fingers From Chest = 0 Points
TEST #3: “Cat Stretch”
You will need a partner and a pencil.
With hands and knees on the floor arch your low back as much as possible by trying to bring your hips to your chest. Have your partner place a pencil on your lower back. What does it look like?
Pencil Ends Off Back = 2 Points
Pencil Flat = 1 Point
Pencil Ends Touching, Middle Not = 0 Points
TEST #4: Lunge
Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground. Keep your body upright. Place a ruler under your back leg. Measure how far the front of the hip extends out from the ruler.
More Than 12” = 2 Points 9-11.5” = 1 Point Less Than 9” = 0 Points
TEST #5: Toe Touch
Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes. Use a ruler to measure how far away the tip of your finger is away from the floor.
Finger Touching Floor or Palming Floor = 2 Points
Fingers Less Than 2” From Floor = 1 Point
Fingers More Than 2” From The Floor = 0 Points
Now that you have gone through all of the tests, add the score of each test together. What did you get?
9-10 Points = 90-100% Low Back Function = Congratulations! You have a VERY healthy back!
7-8 Points = 70-80% Low Back Function = Chances are you may not have low back pain now, but you should try to improve the tests that are lagging with some simple daily mobility, stretching, and exercise. In pain currently? See below.
Less Than 6 Points = Less Than 60% Low Back Function = Your back is in trouble! Most of these tests are limited or restricted. You have less than 60% function of your low back! That’s a failing grade in school! Just like in school when you failed a test and you looked for some help to get better grades, you should seek the help of a local musculoskeletal expert for solutions to fix these movements and solve your low back pain!
It is important to note these 5 tests above are assessments used in the Integrative Diagnosis system. The most common cause of limited range of motion and pain for these tests are due to muscle adhesion. Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.
At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are currently the only full body Integrative Diagnosis providers in the State of Iowa. Our treatment fixes adhesion! If you have been looking for answers to your low back pain, click the appointment request here, or call us at 319-423-0925.