Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of a motion palpation procedure, the flexion-extension test, in localizing the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra (C7).
Methods: We analyzed 101 adult participants with metal markers that permitted the identification of the C7 spinous process. This analysis occurred during a flexion-extension test and was confirmed by radiography. Data sample characteristics were analyzed by descriptive statistics, and the relationship between independent variables (weight, height, sex, age, and body mass index [BMI]) and dependent variables (coincidence between the most prominent vertebra and the stationary vertebra, as determined by the flexion-extension test) was determined via logistic regression.
Results: The sample population was 48.5% male with a mean age of 56.8 years (standard deviation, ±14.9) and a mean BMI of 25.54 kg/m2 (standard deviation, ±5.5). In 54.5% of cases, the C7 spinous process was correctly identified by the flexion-extension test. The agreement between the flexion-extension test and radiography in accuracy of localization of the C7 spinous process was significant (P = .021), as was the correct localization of C7 (P = .05).
Conclusion: The localization of the C7 spinous process was more accurate in individuals with a BMI <25 kg/m2 and whose most prominent vertebra coincided with the stationary vertebra as determined by the flexion-extension test.
Author keywords: Palpation; Cervical Vertebrae; Motion
Author affiliations: LCP, APAF, JGS: Rehabilitation Science Postgraduate Program, Human Analysis Movement Lab, Augusto Motta University Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; LCP, APAF: Brazilian Osteopathic Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; APAF, JFCZ: Department of Radiology, Estado do Rio de Janeiro Universtiy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; JGS: Department of Physical Therapy, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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