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Prone Instability Test

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Other Names

  • Prone Instability Test


Starting position of the prone instability test[1]
  • Evaluate patients response to spinal stabilization physical therapy program


  • The patient is prone, with legs hanging off the examination table, feet on floor
  • With the patient in this position, examiner applies anterior-posterior pressure on each spinous process of the lumbar spine
  • Note any pain
  • Then the patient lifts the legs off the floor and the exam is repeated
  • Positive test:
    • Pain only in the resting position, suggesting lumbo-pelvic instability


  • Lumbo-pelvic instability


  • Hicks et al[2]
    • Sensitivity: 72%
    • Specificity: 58%
    • LR-: .48
    • LR+: 1.7

See Also


  1. Russo, Marc, et al. "Muscle control and non-specific chronic low back pain." Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface 21.1 (2018): 1-9.
  2. Hicks G, FritzJ, Delitto A, McGill S. Preliminary development of a clinical prediction rule for determining which patients with low back pain will respond to a stabilization exercise program. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2005;86:1753-1762.
Created by:
John Kiel on 8 August 2019 14:51:44
Last edited:
15 May 2023 07:52:23