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ORIGINAL RESEARCH

The reliability and concurrent validity of measurements used to quantify lumbar spine mobility:  An analysis of an iPhone application and gravity based inclinometry.

Authors:  Kolber MJ, Pizzini M, Robinson A, Yanez D, Hanney WJ

The purpose of this study was to investigate the reliability, minimal detectable change (MDC), and concurrent validity of active spinal mobility measurements using a gravity-based bubble inclinometer and iPhone® application. Two investigators each used a bubble inclinometer and an iPhone® with inclinometer application to measure total thoracolumbo-pelvic flexion, isolated lumbar flexion, total thoracolumbo-pelvic extension, and thoracolumbar lateral flexion in 30 asymptomatic participants using a blinded repeated measures design. The bubble inclinometer and iPhone® both possess good intrarater and interrater reliability as well as concurrent validity when strict measurement procedures are adhered to. This study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that smart phone applications may offer clinical utility comparable to inclinometry for quantifying spinal mobility. Clinicians should be aware of the potential disagreement when using these devices interchangeably.

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