Manual physical assessment of spinal segmental motion: Intent and validity

J. Haxby Abbott, Timothy W. Flynn, Julie M. Fritz, Wayne A. Hing, Duncan Reid and Julie M. Whitman

The aims of this study were to (1) establish what manual physical therapists are intending to assess while applying passive intervertebral motion tests; and (2) examine the face validity and content validity for manual physical assessment of the spine.  Following a large international survey the results showed that respondents believed passive accessory intervertebral motion (PAIVM) tests were valid for assessing quantity of segmental motion, and 76% believed passive physiologic intervertebral motion (PPIVM) tests were valid for assessing quantity of segmental motion.  Manual physical therapists accept the face validity of manual physical assessment of spinal segmental motion to a great extent, however a minority voice scepticism. Content validity is dominated by concepts of segmental kinematics and the force–displacement relationship. Intent of assessment does, however, vary widely between therapists.

Manual Therapy, November 2007, online article ahead of press.

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