The clinical examination of neck pain patients: the validity of a group of tests

Man Ther. 2007 Feb;12(1):50-5. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2006.02.007.


We evaluated whether a blinded observer could identify the neck pain patients in a sample of 42 subjects consisting of neck pain patients and asymptomatic controls.The allocation of subjects to either the control or patient group was based on the scoring of a VAS scale for pain intensity, a Bournemouth Questionnaire (BQ), a manual examination of the rotation of C0-2-7 (rated for Range Of Motion, end feel, onset of pain), an adapted Spurling test and Cervical Range Of Motion (CROM) measurements.The VAS and BQ resulted in a high % of correct allocations (>/= 77.5%) and a high specificity (90.9%). The Manual Examination Procedures (MEPs) have similar results especially when clustered. The combination of the VAS score, BQ and MEPs resulted in a sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 86.4%, respectively. Except for the flexion movement all CROM allocation percentages are around 50%, indicating a lesser diagnostic value.Our findings reinforce the validity of MEPs. Clustering pain measurements, BQ and MEPs provides the highest diagnostic value to identify neck pain patients or necks in need of treatment.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Physical Examination*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*