Cervical motion assessment using virtual reality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


STUDY DESIGN.: Repeated measures of cervical motion in asymptomatic subjects. OBJECTIVES.: To introduce a virtual reality (VR)-based assessment of cervical range of motion (ROM); to establish inter and intratester reliability of the VR-based assessment in comparison with conventional assessment in asymptomatic individuals; and to evaluate the effect of a single VR session on cervical ROM. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Cervical ROM and clinical issues related to neck pain is frequently studied. A wide variety of methods is available for evaluation of cervical motion. To date, most methods rely on voluntary responses to an assessor's instructions. However, in day-to-day life, head movement is generally an involuntary response to multiple stimuli. Therefore, there is a need for a more functional assessment method, using sensory stimuli to elicit spontaneous neck motion. VR attributes may provide a methodology for achieving this goal. METHODS.: A novel method was developed for cervical motion assessment utilizing an electromagnetic tracking system and a VR game scenario displayed via a head mounted device. Thirty asymptomatic participants were assessed by both conventional and VR-based methods. Inter and intratester repeatability analyses were performed. The effect of a single VR session on ROM was evaluated. RESULTS.: Both assessments showed non-biased results between tests and between testers (P > 0.1). Full-cycle repeatability coefficients ranged between 15.0° and 29.2° with smaller values for rotation and for the VR assessment. A single VR session significantly increased ROM, with largest effect found in the rotation direction. CONCLUSION.: Inter and intratester reliability was supported for both the VR-based and the conventional methods. Results suggest better repeatability for the VR method, with rotation being more precise than flexion/extension. A single VR session was found to be effective in increasing cervical motion, possibly due to its motivating effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1024
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 May 2009


  • Assessment
  • Cervical spine
  • Range of motion
  • Reliability
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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