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Chiropractic Research Review

Blood Pressure Cuffs Used in Muscle Strength Tests?

Manual muscle testing, while widely used in practice to determine muscle weakness, is a subjective evaluation that can make accurate clinical assessment difficult. To reduce the potential for error, several specialized instruments have been designed for use in research and in the chiropractic setting.

This study assessed the reliability of using a blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer) to monitor the amount of pressure exerted by examiners during manual muscle-testing. Eighty subjects were evaluated by two examiners who tested 40 subjects each to determine muscle strength during hip extension, flexion and abduction, and shoulder flexion, extension, abduction, and internal/external rotation. The tests were performed twice (one side of the body followed by the opposite side) at 35-second intervals.

Results indicated that individual examiners performed well at reproducing their own results in repeated measurements. No significant differences were seen between repeated measurements or between examiners. This type of testing may prove effective in offering a more reproducible method of assessing muscle strength in the clinical setting.

Perossa DR, Dziak M, Vernon HT, et al. The intra-examiner reliability of manual muscle testing of the hip and shoulder with a modified sphygmomanometer: a preliminary study of normal subjects. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, June 1998;42(2), pp73-82. Reprints: Tel: (416) 781-5656; Fax: (416) 781-7344

Chiropractic Research Review

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