Objective: To determine the degree to which the geometric line drawings used in Chiropractic Biophysics Technique (CBP) on lateral cervical radiographs are reliable.
Design: A blind, delayed repeated measures design was used. Three examiners were presented radiographs in random order. All identifying marks were removed prior to each examiner's individual marking and measurement. Each examiner was blinded as to how the previous examiners marked and measured the radiographs.
Setting: Primary care private chiropractic clinic.
Participants: Sixty-five subject films were provided from the patient records of a primary care private chiropractic clinic. The 65 radiographs qualified for inclusion in the study based on two criteria: C1 through C7 had to be clearly visible, and there had to be no identifying artifacts.
Main outcome measures: Anterior head translation in millimeters, atlas plane to horizontal, Ruth Jackson's cervical stress lines, and five relative rotation angles for C2-C3, C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7. Inter- and intrareliability of the three examiners were statistically analyzed.
Results: Intraexaminer for a) C1 to horizontal reliability was .98-.99 with confidence intervals of .96-.99, b) absolute rotation angle from C2 to C7 reliability was .82-.95 with confidence intervals of .80-.99, c) anterior head translation [+Sz] reliability was .86-.99, with confidence intervals of .74-.99, d) relative rotation angle reliability ranges were (C2-C3) .99, and (C3-C4) .98-.99, (C4-C5) .88-.99, (C5-C6) .80-.99, and (C6-C7) .94-.98. Interexaminer reliabilities across examiners ranged from a) Winer:.89-.99 and b) Bartko: .72-.96.
Conclusions: The reliabilities for intra- and interexaminer were all greater than .70, indicating that these measurements in CBP technique would be considered accurate enough to provide measurements for future clinical studies. The data indicated that the C6-C7 relative rotation angle was the least reliable measurement. This might be due to the very small angles found at this level.