Forward bending is often performed in daily activities. However, excessive lumbar flexion during forward bending has been reported as a risk factor for low back pain. Therefore, this study examined the effects of an exercise strategy using a stick on the angular displacement and movement onset of lumbar and hip flexion during forward-bending exercises in patients with lumbar flexion syndrome. Eighteen people with lumbar flexion syndrome were voluntarily recruited in this study. Subjects performed forward-bending exercises with and without a straight stick in standing. The angular displacement and movement onset of lumbar and hip flexion while performing forward-bending exercises were measured by using a three dimensional motion analysis system. The significances of differences between the two conditions (with stick vs. without stick) was assessed using a one-way repeated analysis of variance. When using a stick during a forward-bending exercise, the peak angular displacement of lumbar flexion was reduced significantly, and those of right and left-hip flexion increased significantly in comparison to those without a stick. The movement onset of lumbar flexion occurred significantly later, and the onset of right-hip flexion occurred significantly earlier with than without a stick.
Based on these findings, a stick exercise was an effective method to prevent excessive lumbar flexion and more helpful in developing hip flexion during a forward-bending exercise. These findings will be beneficial to clinicians in the instruction of self-exercise during forward bending in patients with lumbar flexion syndrome.