Methods: Four simulation tests were either selected from the literature or newly designed: simulated sitting trunk/shoulder rotation (SR; test no. 1), active vs passive cervical rotation (CR; test no. 2), Libman's test (LT; test no. 3) of pressure over the mastoid process, and side-lying passive shoulder abduction (SA; test no. 4). Three groups, 1 without neck pain (n = 44) and 2 with neck pain (n = 43 and 27), were formed. Outcome measures consisted of questions on provocation of pain (Yes/No) and appropriateness (Yes/No) as well as measurements of cervical rotation (goniometric) and pressure pain threshold (pressure algometer). Group test responses were evaluated and scored. A threshold of acceptance was established at 80% agreement for face validity. Ranges of rotation and pressure threshold values were analyzed with the Student t test.
Results: In nonneck pain subjects, all 4 tests were rated as nonpainful and 3 were rated as “appropriate” for neck pain examination (not SR). In neck pain subjects, this test and SA were rated as nonpainful, whereas LT was rated as painful in 26% of subjects. Only CR and LT were rated as “appropriate.” In neck pain subjects, passive rotations exceeded actives by 10% to 14% (P = .000). On a second round of testing with a slightly modified method, SR and SA achieved acceptable “appropriateness.”
Conclusions: Once 2 tests were slightly modified, all 4 tests were found to have acceptable face validity. Further research into the reliability of these tests as well as into the combinations of these tests is warranted.
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