Objective: The objective of this study was to measure the interexaminer reliability of scoring pain distribution using paper and electronic body pain diagrams in patients with acute whiplash-associated disorder and to assess the intermethod reliability of measuring pain distribution and location using paper and electronic diagrams.
Methods: We conducted an interexaminer reliability study on 80 participants recruited from a randomized controlled trial on the conservative management of acute grade I/II whiplash-associated disorder. Participants were assessed for inclusion/exclusion criteria by an experienced clinician. As part of the baseline assessment, participants independently completed paper and electronic pain diagrams. Diagrams were scored independently by 2 examiners using the body region method. Interexaminer and intermethod reliability was computed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for pain distribution and κ coefficient for pain location. We used Bland-Altman plots to compute limits of agreement.
Results: The interexaminer reliability was ICC = 0.925 for paper and ICC = 0.997 for the electronic body pain diagram. The intermethod reliability for measuring pain distribution ranged from ICC = 0.63 to ICC = 0.93. For pain location, the intermethod reliability varied from κ = 0.23 (posterior neck) to κ = 0.90 (right side of the face).
Conclusions: We found good to excellent interexaminer reliability for scoring 2 versions of the body pain diagram. Pain distribution and pain location were reliably and consistently measured on body pain diagrams using paper and electronic methods; therefore, clinicians and researchers may choose either medium when using body pain diagrams.
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