Clinimetric evaluation of active range of motion measures in patients with non-specific neck pain: a systematic review
de Koning, C. H., van den Heuvel, S. P., Staal, J. B., Smits-Engelsman, B. C., and Hendriks, E. J.
The study is to provide a critical analysis of the research literature on clinimetric properties of instruments that can be used in daily practice to measure active cervical range of motion (ACROM) in patients with non-specific neck pain. A computerized literature search was performed in Medline, Cinahl and Embase from 1982 to January 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the clinimetric properties of identified instruments using a criteria list. The search identified a total of 33 studies, investigating three different types of measurement instruments to determine ACROM. These instruments were: (1) different types of goniometers/inclinometers, (2) visual estimation, and (3) tape measurements. Intra- and inter-observer reliability was demonstrated for the cervical range of motion instrument (CROM), Cybex electronic digital instrument (EDI-320) and a single inclinometer. The presence of agreement was assessed for the EDI-320 and a single inclinometer. The CROM received a positive rating for construct validity. When clinical acceptability is taken into account both the CROM and the single inclinometer can be considered appropriate instruments for measuring the active range of motion in patients with non-specific neck pain in daily practice. Reliability is the aspect most frequently evaluated. Agreement, validity and responsiveness are documented less frequently.