Development of active hip abduction screening test for identifying occupational low back pain

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STUDY DESIGN: Analytic observational prospective study performed in a controlled laboratory setting. OBJECTIVES: To assess the ability of a new screening tool, the active hip abduction test, to predict low back pain development during prolonged standing in previously asymptomatic individuals. BACKGROUND: Most screening tools used for a patient with low back pain do not assess the patient's ability to maintain postural control in the frontal plane, when placed in an unstable position. Postural-control differences in pain developers, as compared to non-pain developers, during standing have been found previously. An attempt was made to predict pain development with a simple screening test. METHODS: Forty-three previously asymptomatic volunteers underwent a clinical assessment prior to a 2-hour standing protocol designed to induce low back pain. Participants rated low back pain with a visual analog scale and were classified into pain developers or non-pain developers. RESULTS: Forty percent of participants developed low back pain. The active hip abduction test was the only test that discriminated between pain-developer groups. When the examiner scored the test, the odds ratio was 3.85 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05-19.07), and when the test was self-rated, the odds ratio was 6.55 (95% CI: 1.14- 37.75) for pain development during standing. CONCLUSION: The active hip abduction test appears to show promise for predicting individuals 'who are at risk for low back pain development during prolonged standing. More work is required to validate the test in clinical populations, and to assess interrater and intrarater reliability. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Diagnosis, level 2b.

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