BACKGROUND: Measurement of cervical range of motion (ROM) is recommended when physically examining people with neck pain. However, little is known about the clinician's perception of "normal" versus restricted movement. Additionally, it is unknown if an objective measure of restricted movement correlates with the patient's perception of movement restriction.
METHODS: One hundred patients with neck pain were asked to rate their total amount of restriction, using a movement restriction scale. Two physical therapists (PTs) measured cervical ROM using a CROM device. Assessors independently rated whether the patient was restricted in their cervical ROM for each movement direction ("yes" or "no"). Cohen's kappa was used to assess reliability between both assessor's interpretation for all movement directions. Correlations between the perception of 'normal' versus 'restricted' movement according to both the assessor and patient was compared with an objective classification of movement restriction using normative data.
RESULTS: The agreement between PTs was high, ranging from substantial (K: 0.74) to almost perfect (K: 0.94). The correlation between the self-reported restriction scale and objective restriction was 0.44, indicating moderate correlation. The correlation between the PT's interpretation and objective restriction ranged from 0.55 to 0.66 depending on the direction of movement.
CONCLUSION: A large proportion (85%) of the patients with neck pain exhibited restricted cervical ROM, relative to normative data. The agreement between PTs was high in judging whether a patient had restricted cervical ROM. However, the judgement of both the patient and the PT was not always in accordance with the objective measure of movement.
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- Cervical range of motion
- Self-reported outcome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation