Hilla Sarig Bahat, Elliot Sprecher, Itamar Sela, Julia Treleaven

June 2016, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 2139 - 2148 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-016-4388-5

First Online: 30 January 2016

Background and Purpose

The use of virtual reality (VR) for assessment and intervention of neck pain has previously been used and shown reliable for cervical range of motion measures. Neck VR enables analysis of task-oriented neck movement by stimulating responsive movements to external stimuli. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to establish inter-tester reliability of neck kinematic measures so that it can be used as a reliable assessment and treatment tool between clinicians.


This reliability study included 46 asymptomatic participants, who were assessed using the neck VR system which displayed an interactive VR scenario via a head-mounted device, controlled by neck movements. The objective of the interactive assessment was to hit 16 targets, randomly appearing in four directions, as fast as possible. Each participant was tested twice by two different testers.


Good reliability was found of neck motion kinematic measures in flexion, extension, and rotation (0.64–0.93 inter-class correlation). High reliability was shown for peak velocity globally (0.93), in left rotation (0.9), right rotation and extension (0.88), and flexion (0.86). Mean velocity had a good global reliability (0.84), except for left rotation directed movement with moderate reliability (0.68). Minimal detectable change for peak velocity ranged from 41 to 53 °/s, while mean velocity ranged from 20 to 25 °/s.


The results suggest high reliability for peak and mean velocity as measured by the interactive Neck VR assessment of neck motion kinematics. VR appears to provide a reliable and more ecologically valid method of cervical motion evaluation than previous conventional methodologies.

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