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The intra- and inter-rater reliability of measuring trunk coronal asymmetry by adjusting positioning variability: A prospective study.

BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain (LBP) can lead to muscle spasms, limited range of motion, and abnormal posture, resulting in trunk muscle asymmetry.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the intra- and inter-rater reliability of a quantitative measurement of trunk coronal asymmetry in patients with chronic LBP, minimizing unnecessary gravity and friction force using a manual table in the prone position.

METHODS: This prospective study was conducted at a single center, targeting patients with chronic LBP to measure trunk coronal asymmetry on a manual table in the prone position. The intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated using one-way random-effects and two-way mixed-effects models.

RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients who had LBP for more than three months were enrolled from May 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021. The intra- and inter-rater reliabilities of the two examiners' measurements were 0.872 and 0.899, and 0.852, respectively. Based on pain severity, the participants were classified into mild and severe groups, with ICCs of 0.823 and 0.889, and 0.936 and 0.918, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Measurement of trunk coronal asymmetry in the prone position using a manual table demonstrates high intra- and inter-rater reliability. In addition, the reliability increases with greater pain severity.

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