Objectives:The long tem objective is to develop and psychosomatically test a new outcome measure for evaluating proprioceptive cervical spine dysfunction using the rod and frame test. Specific aims of the present study are to investigate verticality perception with the rod and frame test in symptomatic and asymptomatic neck pain participants in a variety of different postures.
Purpose:The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of body position on the verticality perception of asymptomatic and symptomatic neck pain subjects using the rod and frame test.
Methods: This study was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Seventeen symptomatic neck pain participants (12 women, 5 men), aged 24 to 50 years and seventeen age and gender matched control participants were selected. The rod and frame test requires participants to set, with the use of a remote control, a luminescent rod to the vertical position with or without a frame visible in complete darkness. Participants set the rod to vertical while in three different body positions; 1) standing with feet shoulder width apart, 2) standing heel-to-toe, and 3) sitting on a gym ball. In each position, participants are evaluated with three different tests: 1) the rod visible at 10 degrees clockwise from vertical, 2) the rod visible at 10 degrees clockwise from vertical with a neutral frame visible, 3) the rod was set at 10 degrees clockwise from vertical with a frame set at 15 degrees clockwise from vertical. Error from true vertical was measured with a protractor located on the back of the rod and frame test. Independent t-tests were used to determine the correlations between body position and verticality perception between the neck pain and control groups as well as the relationships in verticality perception errors within and between the two groups.
Results:Independent t-tests did not show statistical significance for the effect of body position on verticality perception. A trend suggests verticality perception errors in the symptomatic participants were greater than in controls, but this difference did not achieve statistical significance.
Discussion: The results of this study indicate that body position does not affect verticality perception when measured with the rod and frame test in individuals with neck pain. Subsequent studies with larger sample size and a more defined neck pain population may be warranted.
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