Three-dimensional analysis of cervical spine motion: reliability of a computer assisted magnetic tracking device compared to inclinometer.
We aimed to investigate the reliability and reproducibility of a magnetic tracking technique for the assessment of overall cervical spine motion (principal and coupled movements). Ten asymptomatic male volunteers with a mean age of 29.3 years (range 20-37 years) were included in the study. Flexion, extension, left and right lateral bending and left and right axial rotation were measured using a magnetic tracking device (MTD) mounted onto a custom head-piece. For rotational movements in the frontal and sagittal planes the results were compared with the measurements of two standard inclinometers. Intra-observer, inter-observer and intra-instrument reliability was assessed with the intraclass correlation coefficient method. There were no significant differences for all motion measurements between the MTD and the inclinometer. High inter-observer reliability was found in flexion, extension, axial rotation and lateral bending indicating that the testing routine is applicable for different examiners. The intra-observer variability was high in flexion and extension, whereas in lateral bending the reliability coefficients were lower and displayed a fair to good reliability for most of the measurements with the MTD. The results of the MTD were found to be highly comparable with the inclinometer results with an inter-instrument correlation coefficient ranging from 0.88 to 0.99. The MTD is a reliable, reproducible method for three-dimensional motion analysis of the cervical spine and therefore a valuable method both for the clinical assessment of various degenerative and traumatic disorders and as a supplement of different therapeutic procedures and rehabilitation.
Gelalis, ID; DeFrate, LE; Stafilas, KS; Pakos, EE; Kang, JD; Gilbertson, LG
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