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What it measures:

The CROM measures active range of motion (ROM) in the cervical spine and/or neck. This test can be used for any person with cervical spine and/or neck pain or loss of motion due to various pathologies and injuries.

Conditions and test variations in this summary

This summary contains information on the use of smartphone apps, goniometers, inclinometers, CROM device, and tape measures to measure cervical range of motion in patients or clients with cervical spine and/or neck pain or loss of motion.

Target Population:

Patients with neck pain.

Taskforce Recommendations

According to the neck pain clinical practice guidelines published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, (15) a test is incorporated as a recommended physical examination measure. It may be helpful in classifying a patient—using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health impairment-based category of neck pain—with radiating pain, along with the associated International Classification of Diseases categories of spondylosis with radiculopathy or cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy.

Clinical Insights

This is a user-friendly and highly available measure that any health care clinician can implement into a ROM or cervical screening. Almost everyone has access to a smartphone and the ability to download goniometric apps. The apps are either included on the device, like the Digital Compass app, or are relatively inexpensive and accessible to the public. Using these methods to measure cervical flexion, extension, and lateral flexion, will reveal accurate and reliable results. However, using these same apps to measure cervical rotation is neither reliable nor valid. (8) Before using the apps and mobile devices as an outcomes measure in clinical settings, studies should be done on patients presenting with cervical problems as well as specific positions. (7)

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