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December 2019

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1992 Sep; 15(7): 442-9.

Line drawing analyses of static cervical X ray used in chiropractic.

Owens EF.

Hands-On Health Center, Decatur, GA 30033.

OBJECTIVE: This review article identifies the chiropractic techniques used to assess the structure of the cervical spine as seen on the static cervical radiograph. DATA SOURCES: On-line search of MEDLINE, key words, radiograph and X ray in combination with cervical spine (vertebrae); the Chiropractic Research Archives Collection (CRAC); indexes published in the Journal of Chiropractic Research; conference proceedings from Annual Biomechanics Conference of the Spine, FCER sponsored conferences and Annual Upper Cervical Spine Conference; references identified from bibliographies of pertinent articles; a telephone poll of radiography/technique instructors at chiropractic colleges. STUDY SELECTION: Techniques that quantitatively assess relative alignment of skeletal structures or distortion of the spinal column. DATA EXTRACTION: Techniques were grouped according to the structures analyzed and the views used. DATA SYNTHESIS: Variables and artifacts that limit the reliability or validity of static cervical X ray line drawing analysis were identified and the techniques assessed for their reported reliability and validity. CONCLUSIONS: Reliability studies exist showing that inter- and intraexaminer reliability are sufficient to measure lateral and rotational displacements of C1 to within +/- 1 degree. This amount of error allows objective analysis of upper cervical X rays to detect changes in the angular positional relationships of radiographic images on the order of those already seen clinically. Methods of cervical analysis that use relative angular measures of skeletal positioning are best able to control the effects of radiographic distortion. The accuracy of the analysis methods has not been ascertained to establish the extent to which angular measurement of vertebral relationships actually reflect three-dimensional movement. It is not known how much of the changes that are seen in pre/post-radiograph sets are due to positioning changes of the patient between radiographic procedure, and how much are due to actual changes of skeletal relationships brought about by adjustment.

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