Cervical Spine Assessment Using Passive and Active Mobilization Recorded Through an Optical Motion Capture

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The purpose of this study was to develop and measure a protocol for evaluation of cervical range of motion (ROM), based on passive mobilization (PM) combined with active mobilization (AM) and recorded through an optical motion capture system.


Passive and active mobilization were applied to 24 asymptomatic participants. Cervical ROM was recorded in 3 anatomic planes (transversal, frontal, and sagittal) using a precision optical system and a set of rigid bodies placed on the sacrum, spinous processes of the C7-T1 vertebrae, and the head. Three captures were made for each participant, distributed over 2 days. The characteristics of the PM, the interaction with the AM, and the coherence patterns between tests were analyzed. Reliability was studied for these procedures.


The reliability results of the PM were high in all analyzed indices; only flexion showed low values. Reliability of AM was greater than PM for flexion, extension, and lateralization because of the similarity to rotation. No statistically significant differences were found comparing PM and AM techniques.


The authors present a cervical ROM assessment based on combined PM and AM protocols at different sessions. This model demonstrated high reliability, individually and combined, and no differences were detected between PM and AM ROMs. Because the evaluator, instrumentation, and the patient are factors that could influence outcomes, the authors suggest that they be combined in protocols. These protocols could be used to evaluate the functional and structural capacity of patients and inform clinical outcomes.

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