Clinical measurement of the thoracic kyphosis. A study of the intra-rater reliability in subjects with and without shoulder pain

The aim of this investigation was to determine the intra-tester reliability of measuring the thoracic kyphosis angle using a clinical method Measurements were made in 45 subjects with and 45 subjects without upper body symptoms. Measurements were made with the subjects in relaxed standing. Two gravity dependent inclinometers were used to measure the kyphosis. The first was placed over the region of the 1st and 2nd thoracic spinous processes. The other, over the region of the 12th thoracic and 1st lumbar spinous processes. The angle produced by each inclinometer was measured 3 times in succession. Each set of 3 measurements was made on two occasions by one rater. The reliability of the measurements was analyzed using 2-way ANOVA intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), 95% confidence intervals (CI) and standard error of measurement (SEM) for precision, for a single measurement [ICC(single)] and the average of 3 measures [ICC(average)]. The assessor remained ‘blinded’ to data input and the measurements were staggered to reduce examiner bias. The measurement of the thoracic kyphosis as used in this investigation was found to have excellent intra-rater reliability for both subjects with and without symptoms.

The findings of this immediate test-retest reliability study suggest that the clinical measurement of the thoracic kyphosis using gravity dependent inclinometers demonstrates excellent intra-rater reliability. Additional research is required to determine the inter-rater reliability of this method.

Jeremy Lewis and Rachel Valentine. Clinical measurement of the thoracic kyphosis. A study of the intra-rater reliability in subjects with and without shoulder pain. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 11:39

Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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