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Chiropractic Research Review

Reliable Assessment of Cervical ROM

Although spinal range-of-motion (ROM) measurements are commonly utilized in clinical practice, a standard measuring device has not yet been determined. Specifically, few methods allow for a single procedure to assess spinal ROM (1) without change of anatomic position; (2) for determining all angular ROMs within a spinal region; and (3) for all spinal regions.

A study of 20 subjects investigated the clinical reliability and precision of the OSI CA-6000 Spinal Motion Analyzer in the cervical spine.

The CA 6000 is designed to measure spinal motions around and along all axes in all spinal regions with the subject in the same upright posture. The authors of this study modified the standard CA 6000 thoracic harness and headpiece to standardize subject position.

Asymptomatic volunteers (20-40 years of age) were evaluated twice by each of two trained examiners in one session. The device measured angular motion about the three orthogonal axes of the cervical spine, recording rotation, lateral bending and flexion-extension in repeated movements from extreme to extreme.

Results showed that the spinal motion analyzer performed reliably for rotation and lateral bending and acceptably for flexion-extension measurements. It was pointed out that the cost of the instrument may be higher than other devices acceptable for ordinary clinical use, but note that the CA 6000 may serve as a valuable research instrument.

The authors conclude that the device is "a highly precise and reliable instrument for measuring active cervical motion limits about the three Cartesian axes, without qualification for full cycles but with reservation for flexion half cycles."

Solinger AB, Chen J, Lantz CA. Standardized initial head position in cervical range-of-motion assessment: reliability and error analysis. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Jan. 2000:23(1), pp20-26.
Reprints: Tel: (800) 325-4177 (ext. 4350); Fax: (314) 432-1380

Chiropractic Research Review

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