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Chiropractic Research Review

Specific Spinal Disorders Related to Specific Compensations

The reliable measurement of lordosis (curvature of the spinal column with a forward convexity) may aid in the effective management of patients with certain low-back disorders.

A study of 160 patients analyzed sagittal alignments to determine the most reliable methods of measuring lumbopelvic disorders and to define significant spinopelvic compensations for sagittal balance.

One hundred and ten patients with lumbar disc disease, spondylolisthesis or scoliosis were compared to 50 patients with no history of serious back pain or disease by analyzing lateral radiographs of the pelvis and entire spine.

Results: Balance measurements proved similar in all four subject groups. However, each group appeared to adjust for balance by using a combination of common and distinctive spinopelvic compensations that produced significantly different angular alignment patterns. Additionally, small differences in lordosis were associated with considerable adjustments in the other spinopelvic alignments.

Lower lumbar lordosis and compensatory sacropelvic translation around a hip axis were the most reliable determinates of sagittal balance. Clinicians who distinguish the specific balance compensations that occur in patients with specific spinal disorders may be able to offer more effective evaluation and treatment.

Jackson RP, Peterson MD, McManus AC, et al. Compensatory spinopelvic balance over the hip axis and better reliability in measuring lordosis to the pelvic radius on standing lateral radiographs of adult volunteers and patients. Spine, Aug. 15, 1998:23(16), pp1750-67.

Chiropractic Research Review

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