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Chiropractic Research Review

Deltoid/Psoas Muscle Tests Show Interexaminer Reliability

The value of muscle testing, which is utilized in practice for various diagnostic purposes, presupposes the reliability of the testing procedure. Although the outcomes of testing by experienced or novice practitioners have been determined, no comparative testing between groups has been performed.

This study evaluated the interexaminer reliability of two common muscle tests - the deltoid muscle test and the psoas muscle test.

An "experienced" (15 years using the technique) and a "novice" (5th-year student) clinician performed each of the above tests on the same 106 volunteers (50 men, 56 women; average age of 26 years). The testing room was arranged such neither of the examiners was able to determine the nature of the others activities.

Results showed that muscle tests for the anterior deltoid were identical between practitioners 82% of the time: Both examiners recorded a "strong" measure 57 times, a "weak" measure 30 times, and different measurements 19 times. Muscle tests results for the psoas were in agreement between practitioners 85% of the time: Both recorded a "strong" measure 30 times and a "weak" measure 60 times. Different measurements were recorded 16 times.

Conclusion: "Our results showed that an experienced and a novice practitioner have good agreement when using repeated muscle test procedures for the deltoid and psoas. ... The [procedures] show good test-test reliability." The authors caution that these results are relevant to the utilization of these procedures for basic muscle testing only, and suggest further research to address "the noted shortcomings in the literature on the validity of use of these procedures in conjunction with diagnostic protocols to which they are so often used."

Pollard H, Lakay B, Tucker F, et al. Interexaminer reliability of the deltoid and psoas muscle test. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics January 2005;28(1):52-56.

Chiropractic Research Review

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