METHODS: Multiple orthopaedic texts were reviewed to produce a comprehensive list of spine orthopaedic test names and synonyms. A search was conducted in MEDLINE, MANTIS, CINAHL, AMED and the Cochrane Library for relevant articles from inception up to December 2005. The studies were evaluated using the tool for quality assessment of studies of diagnostic accuracy included in systematic reviews (QUADUS).
RESULTS: Twenty-one papers met the inclusion criteria. The QUADUS scores ranged from 4 to 12 of a possible 14. Twenty-nine percent of the studies achieved a score of 10 or more. The papers covered a wide range of tests for spine conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: There was a lack of quantity and quality of orthopaedic tests for the spine found in the literature. There is a lack of high quality research regarding the accuracy of spinal orthopaedic tests. Due to this lack of evidence it is suggested that over-reliance on single orthopaedic tests is not appropriate.
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