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Chiropractic Research Review

Assessing Cervical ROM: A Reliable and Useful Tool

Although dual inclinometry is considered the clinical standard for assessing cervical range of motion (ROM), radiography is often regarded as the "gold" standard. However, few procedures, including radiography, have been tested thoroughly with regard to active, passive, total and half-cycle motions.

In a study designed to evaluate the clinical validity and intra/inter examiner reliability of a particular electrogoniometer in determining cervical spine ROM, three groups were used to investigate correlations between different variables.

The authors assessed passive and active cervical ROM in different groups of subjects during standing or seated positions; they also compared measurements to those taken using dual inclinometry.

Axial rotations along the transverse, coronal and frontal planes were measured as half-cycles (left-right or flexion-extension) and repeated seven times per trial, and dual inclinometry and electrogoniometry were performed twice over a one-week period.

Results: The electrogoniometer demonstrated high reliability and validity in assessing total active motion, even when compared with dual inclinometry. Specifically, total range of motion showed less between-trial variability than half-cycles; axial rotation and lateral bending measurements revealed greater reliability than flexion-extension measurements; and active motion proved more reliable than passive motion.

Lantz CA, Chen J, Buch D. Clinical validity and stability of active and passive cervical range of motion with regard to total and unilateral uniplanar motion. Spine, June 1, 1999:24(11), pp1082-89.

Chiropractic Research Review

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