Multifidus Lift Test

Original Editor - Lilian Ashraf
Top Contributors - Lilian Ashraf and Kim Jackson

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Low back pain (LBP) is a highly prevalent, the multifidus muscle provides an important contribution to lumbar spine stability, thus deficits in the multifidus muscle are associated with low back pain. The multifidus lift test (MLT) to identify lumbar multifidus dysfunction amongst patients with LBP.[1]

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With the patient relaxed in the prone position, the multifidus muscle is palpated lateral to the interspinous space of L4/L5 and L5/S1.

The patients is asked to flex the arms to approximately 120° and the elbows to approximately 90°, then the patient is instructed to raise their contralateral arm toward the ceiling approximately 5 cm.

A judgment is made on the quality of multifidus muscle contraction determined by palpation. A normal contraction is one in which a robust and obvious muscle contraction could be palpated during the arm lift and an abnormal contraction is when there is little or no palpable contraction of the muscle during the arm lift.

The test result is considered positive when an abnormal muscle contraction was identified and negative when a judgment of normal contraction was made by the examiner.[1]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Interrater reliability of the multifidus lift test was substantial to excellent. When performed at L4/L5 or L5/S1, the multifidus lift test demonstrated evidence of concurrent validity through its relationship with the reference standard results at L4/L5. The multifidus lift test generally failed to demonstrate a relationship with the reference standard results from the L5/S1 level.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hebert JJ, Koppenhaver SL, Teyhen DS, Walker BF, Fritz JM. The evaluation of lumbar multifidus muscle function via palpation: reliability and validity of a new clinical test. The Spine Journal. 2015 Jun 1;15(6):1196-202.