A novel use of inertial sensors to measure the craniocervical flexion range of motion associated to the craniocervical flexion test: an observational study

Tomás Pérez-Fernández, Susan Armijo-Olivo, Sonia Liébana, Pablo José de la Torre Ortíz, Josué Fernández-Carnero, Rafael Raya, Aitor Martín-Pintado-Zugasti
2020 Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation  
Background The craniocervical flexion test (CCFT) is recommended when examining patients with neck pain related conditions and as a deep cervical retraining exercise option. During the execution of the CCFT the examiner should visually assess that the amount of craniocervical flexion range of motion (ROM) progressively increases. However, this task is very subjective. The use of inertial wearable sensors may be a user-friendly option to measure and objectively monitor the ROM. The objectives of
more » ... our study were (1) to measure craniocervical flexion range of motion (ROM) associated with each stage of the CCFT using a wearable inertial sensor and to determine the reliability of the measurements and (2) to determine craniocervical flexion ROM targets associated with each stage of the CCFT to standardize their use for assessment and training of the deep cervical flexor (DCF) muscles. Methods Adults from a university community able to successfully perform the CCFT participated in this study. Two independent examiners evaluated the CCFT in two separate sessions. During the CCFT, a small wireless inertial sensor was adhered to the centre of the forehead to provide real-time monitoring and to record craniocervical flexion ROM. The intra- and inter-rater reliability of the assessment of craniocervical ROM was calculated. This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of CEU San Pablo University (236/17/08). Results Fifty-six participants (18 males, 23 females; mean [SD] age, 21.8 [3.45] years) were included in the study and successfully completed the study protocol. All interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values indicated good or excellent reliability of the assessment of craniocervical ROM using a wearable inertial sensor. There was high variability between subjects on the amount of craniocervical ROM necessary to achieve each stage of the CCFT. Conclusions The use of inertial sensors is a reliable method to measure the craniocervical flexion ROM associated with the CCFT. The great variability in the ROM limits the possibility to standardize a set of targets of craniocervical flexion ROM equivalent to each of the pressure targets of the pressure biofeedback unit.
doi:10.1186/s12984-020-00784-1 pmid:33213452 pmcid:PMC7678052 fatcat:nrzsdfvxefhfjk3m5x7q6phk54