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Chiropractic Research Review

New Method Reliably Determines Cervical Axial Rotation

While biplanar orthogonal radiography is more exact than two-dimensional anteroposterior (AP) radiography, it involves a number of undesirable clinical issues, such as increased radiation and the need for complicated computer assistance.

Practitioners and researchers desire the ability to reliably measure the degree of axial rotation in the cervical spine for a variety of reasons. While there are several radiographic mensuration techniques available, the margin of error associated with these techniques sometimes negates their clinical utility.

The authors of this study developed a new way to measure axial rotation and lateral bending using a computerized digitizing system. The investigators studied to what extent the measurements from the films could be reproduced by various examiners (interexaminer reliability).

Reliability of this new method at determining cervical axial rotations was in "the good to excellent range." Compared with rotations measured on a C3 model, the method averaged less than one degree (11.5%) of error.

Conclusion: The authors have discovered a method for determining axial rotations for angles of no more than five degrees. The procedure has already been utilized in spinal coupling research, and may be feasible for instability evaluations of the spine.

Janik T, Harrison DE, Harrison DD, et al. Reliability of lateral bending and axial rotation with validity of a new method to determine axial rotation on anteroposterior cervical radiographs. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2001:24(7), pp. 445-448.

Chiropractic Research Review

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