PURPOSE: To study the interexaminer reliability of measuring passive cervical range of motion (ROM).
DESIGN: Repeated blind measures of passive cervical ROM by two different examiners.
SETTING: Ambulatory outpatient facility in an independent National Health Service of Denmark funded chiropractic research institution.
PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five asymptomatic volunteers (17 men and 18 women) aged 20-28 yr.
INTERVENTION: Measurement of passive cervical ROM with the use of a strap-on head goniometer by two blind examiners. Each subject was measured twice with 15-min intervals, using a mean-of-five-measurements protocol.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The reliability of measuring passive cervical ROM in six separate directions of movement from "neutral zero" and from one extreme to the other in three planes.
RESULTS: The inter- and intra-examiner reliability was evaluated using a paired t test and Pearson's Correlation Coefficient (supplemented by a scatterplot). Intraclass Correlation Coefficients were also calculated. Interexaminer reliability was found to be acceptable (Pearson's r = .61 - .88) for measuring in three planes. Interexaminer reliability was less than acceptable (Pearson's r = .39 - .70) for measuring passive ROM in 6 directions from neutral zero.
CONCLUSION: Passive cervical ROM could be measured reliably by different examiners for measurements in three planes. Measurements from neutral zero in six directions were unreliable when measured by different examiners.
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