This systematic review and meta-analysis was designed to determine the effect of age on lumbar range of motion (ROM). Ten electronic databases were searched to find studies matching predetermined inclusion criteria. Methodological quality was assessed with a quality assessment tool for quantitative studies. Evidence for effect of age on ROM in all planes was investigated with meta-analyses. Sixteen studies met inclusion criteria with results showing age-related reductions in flexion, extension and lateral flexion particularly from 40 to 50 and after 60 years of age. There was very little age effect on lumbar rotation.
There is strong evidence for a non-linear age-related reduction in lumbar sagittal and coronal ROM after 40 years of age that also appears to be asymmetric in the coronal plane. These factors should be considered during the evaluation of spinal ROM in patients who present with lumbar disorders.
Pattariya Intolo, Stephan Milosavljevic, David G. Baxter, Allan B. Carman, Poonam Pal and Joanne Munn. The effect of age on lumbar range of motion: A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 2009, 14(6), 596-604