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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 950719, 9 pages
Research Article

Kinematic Measures during a Clinical Diagnostic Technique for Human Neck Disorder: Inter- and Intraexaminer Comparisons

1Department of Family Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
3Biomechanics Division, MEA Forensic Engineers & Scientists, Laguna Hills, CA 92653, USA
4Department of Mathematical Sciences and Center for Quantitative Analysis, Bentley University, Waltham, MA 02452, USA

Received 30 August 2012; Accepted 5 January 2013

Academic Editor: Miguel A. Rivero

Copyright © 2013 Joseph Vorro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diagnoses of human musculoskeletal dysfunction of the cervical spine are indicated by palpable clues of a patient’s structural compliance/noncompliance as this body segment responds to diagnostic motion demands applied by a clinician. This process includes assessments of motion range, motion performance, and changes in tissue responses. However, biomechanical quantification of these diagnostic actions and their reproducible components is lacking. As a result, this study sought to use objective kinematic measures to capture aspects of the diagnostic process to compare inter- and intraexaminer motion behaviors when performing a specific clinical diagnostic protocol. Pain-free volunteers and a group determined to be symptomatic based on a psychometric pain score were examined by two clinicians while three-dimensional kinematic data were collected. Intraexaminer diagnostic motion ranges of cervical lateral flexion and secondary rotations were consistent for each examiner and for each subject group. However, interexaminer comparisons for motion range, secondary rotations, and average velocities yielded consistently larger measures for one examiner for both subject groups (). This research demonstrates that fundamental aspects of the clinical diagnostic process for human neck disorders can be identified and measured using kinematic parameters. Further, these objective data have the potential to be linked to clinical decision making.