Reliability of a test measuring transversus abdominis muscle recruitment with a pressure biofeedback unit

Katharina von Garnier, Kirstin Köveker, Berid Rackwitz, Ulrike Kober, Sabine Wilke, Thomas Ewert and Gerold Stucki

The purpose of this study was to evaluate inter-observer and test–retest reliability of the PRONE test. Forty nurses, aged between 24 and 62 years, with at least one episode of low back pain participated.  During the test, movement of the abdominal wall was monitored by measuring a change in pressure during muscle contraction termed ‘abdominal hollowing’. Defined observation and palpation criteria were verified by the observers to ensure correct execution of the test.  Participants were tested by 3 observers on two separate days.

For this subject group, the PRONE test had relatively low inter-observer reliability but, as may be expected, higher test–retest reliability. It is suggested that by providing visual feedback, the PRONE test may enhance patients’ insight into their deep abdominal muscle recruitment and thereby increase their motivation to exercise.

Physiotherapy, 95(1), 8-14

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