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September 2022

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1986 Dec; 9(4): 257-66.

Neuromusculoskeletal thermography: a valuable diagnostic tool?

Meeker WC, Gahlinger PM.

The use of neuromusculoskeletal thermography is rapidly increasing. Recent studies have begun to document the types of diagnostic and other clinically useful information which may be derived from the procedure. This paper provides a review and summary of current research and a comparison with myelography, computerized tomography, electromyography and clinical and surgical findings in cases of presumed musculoskeletal pain syndromes. The importance of diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, and accuracy (validity) are discussed. In general, the literature reports high sensitivity and negative predictive value, but lower specificity and positive predictive value. The implications of these findings are examined in regard to clinical case management, with emphasis on potential usefulness to chiropractors. Although thermography appears to be a promising diagnostic tool, there remain a number of threats to the scientific validity of current research which must be accounted for in future work.

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