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Chiropractic Research Review

Paperclip Adds to Goniometer's Effectiveness

Clinicians frequently assess range of motion when evaluating patients with neck pain. One hundred and thirty-five subjects (aged 14-95) were evaluated in a study designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified goniometer in measuring lateral neck flexion.

The investigators used a universal goniometer with a portion of a small paperclip placed through the axis to serve as a pendulum pointer, allowing the goniometer to use gravity as a reference.

Using the nose as a landmark to align the goniometer's arms, the more experienced clinician (eight years of clinical experience) measured lateral flexion in 100 subjects to establish intratester reliability. Both clinicians then measured 35 subjects to determine intertester reliability and to assess how similar one clinicians measurements were to the other.

Results indicated that the modified goniometer could effectively measure lateral flexion. Intratester reliability was high and intertester reliability was moderate. The authors claim that these results are "as high as or higher than those reported elsewhere" and consider the goniometer with a pendulum pointer an inexpensive, easy-to-use, and effective clinical evaluation tool.

Pellecchia GL, Bohannon RW. Active lateral neck flexion range of motion measurements obtained with a modified goniometer: reliability and estimates of normal. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Sept. 1998:21(7), pp443-47.
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Chiropractic Research Review

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