Reliability of Cervicocephalic Proprioception Assessment: A Systematic Review

Published:October 19, 2022DOI:



      The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the reliability and, where possible, the validity of cervicocephalic proprioceptive (CCP) tests in healthy adults and clinical populations.


      A systematic search, utilizing 7 databases from the earliest possible date to April 14, 2021, identified studies that measured reliability of CCP tests. Studies were screened for eligibility, and included studies were appraised using Quality Appraisal Tool for Studies of Diagnostic Reliability (QAREL) and Quality Assessment and Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 Tool (QUADAS-2) tools. Validity outcomes were assessed for included studies.


      Of 34 included studies, 29 investigated reliability for sense of position tests, 10 involved sense of movement tests, and 1 used a sense of force test. The head to neutral test was reliable and valid when 6 or more repetitions were performed within the test, discriminating between those with and without neck pain. Head tracking tests were reliable with 6 repetitions, and 1 study found discriminative validity in a whiplash population. Studies that found discriminative validity in sense of position reported mean joint position error generally >4.5° in the neck pain group and <4.5° in the asymptomatic group. No sense of force test was applied to a clinical population. Convergent validity analysis showed that these proprioceptive tests have low correlations with each other.


      The reliability and validity of CCP tests for sense of position and movement are dependent upon equipment and repetitions. Six repetitions are generally required for good reliability, and joint position error >4.5° is likely to indicate impairment in sense of position.

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