Validation of palpatory methods for evaluating anatomical bone landmarks of the cervical spine

The objective of this study was to systematically review the literature for validity of palpatory procedures for evaluating anatomical bone landmarks in the cervical spine. The initial search produced 69860 articles. After selection criteria were applied, 5 studies satisfied the eligibility criteria. Three studies verified the validity of the manual palpatory procedure, and 2 studies correlated the findings of the palpatory procedures with other measured results. According to Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies criteria, 3 studies possessed good methodological quality, and 2 presented fair methodological quality. Studies exhibited an accuracy range from 51% to 87.8%.

There are not many studies that evaluate the validity of manual palpatory procedures for examining boney landmarks of the cervical spine. The 5 that were found exhibited fair to good methodological quality. However, it is noted that there may be poor external validity due to the sampling heterogeneity of these studies.