Correlation between thoracolumbar curvatures and respiratory function in older adults

Nor Najwatul Akmal Ab Rahman, Devinder Kaur Ajit Singh, Raymond Yun Wah Lee

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Aging is associated with alterations in thoracolumbar curvatures and respiratory function. Research information regarding the correlation between thoracolumbar curvatures and a comprehensive examination of respiratory function parameters in older adults is limited. The aim of the present study was to examine the correlation between thoracolumbar curvatures and respiratory function in community-dwelling older adults. Thoracolumbar curvatures (thoracic and lumbar) were measured using a motion tracker. Respiratory function parameters such as lung function, respiratory rate, respiratory muscle strength and respiratory muscle thickness (diaphragm and intercostal) were measured using a spirometer, triaxial accelerometer, respiratory pressure meter and ultrasound imaging, respectively. Sixty-eight community-dwelling older males and females from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with mean (standard deviation) age of 66.63 (5.16) years participated in this cross-sectional study. The results showed that mean (standard deviation) thoracic curvature angle and lumbar curvature angles were -46.30° (14.66°) and 14.10° (10.58°), respectively. There was a significant negative correlation between thoracic curvature angle and lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second: r=-0.23, P<0.05; forced vital capacity: r=-0.32, P<0.05), quiet expiration intercostal thickness (r=-0.22, P<0.05) and deep expiration diaphragm muscle thickness (r=-0.21, P<0.05). The lumbar curvature angle had a significant negative correlation with respiratory muscle strength (r=-0.29, P<0.05) and diaphragm muscle thickness at deep inspiration (r=-0.22, P<0.05). However, respiratory rate was correlated neither with thoracic nor with lumbar curvatures. The findings of this study suggest that increase in both thoracic and lumbar curvatures is correlated with decrease in respiratory muscle strength, respiratory muscle thickness and some parameters of lung function. Clinically, both thoracic and lumbar curvatures, respiratory muscles and lung function should be taken into consideration in the holistic management of respiratory function among older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-529
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017


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