Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare 2 alternative methods, the radiologic Harrison Posterior Tangent Method (HPTM) and the nonradiologic Spinal Mouse (SM), to the Cobb angle for measuring lumbar lordosis.
Methods: Sixteen participants with previously existing lateral lumbopelvic radiographs underwent nonradiographic lordosis assessment with a Spinal Mouse. Then 2 investigators analyzed each radiograph twice using the Harrison Posterior Tangent Method and Cobb angle. Correlations were analyzed between HPTM, the Cobb angle, and SM using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient; intraexaminer and interexaminer agreement were analyzed for HPTM and the Cobb angle using intraclass correlation coefficients.
Results: The HPTM correlated highly with the Cobb angle (Spearman ρ = 0.936, P < .001); SM had moderate to strong correlations with the Cobb angle (ρ = 0.737, P = .002) and HPTM (ρ = 0.707, P = .003). Intraexaminer and interexaminer agreement for the Cobb angle and HPTM were excellent (all intraclass correlation coefficients > 0.90). One participant had slight kyphosis according to HPTM and SM analyses (which consider the entire lumbar region), whereas the Cobb angle, based only on L1 and L5, reported mild lordosis for that participant.
Conclusion: In this sample, HPTM measurements showed high correlation with the commonly used Cobb angle, but this method requires more time and effort, and normal values have not been established. The SM may be an alternative when radiographs are inappropriate, but it measures soft tissue contours rather than lordosis itself.
Author keywords: Spine; Lumbosacral Region; Lordosis; Radiography; Low Back Pain
Author affiliations: BSR, KTH: Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research, Life University, Marietta, Georgia; KAMW: Live Well Chiropractic Center, Mason, Ohio
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