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McKenzie Lumbar Classification: Inter-Rater Agreement by Physical Therapists with Different Levels of Formal McKenzie Post-Graduate Training.

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McKenzie Lumbar Classification: Inter-Rater Agreement by Physical Therapists with Different Levels of Formal McKenzie Post-Graduate Training.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 18;

Authors: Werneke MW, Deutscher D, Hart DL, Stratford P, Ladin J, Weinberg J, Herbowy S, Resnik L

Study Design. Inter-rater chance-corrected agreement studyObjective. The aim was to examine the association between therapists’ level of formal pre-credential McKenzie post-graduate training and agreement on the following McKenzie classification variables for patients with low back pain (LBP): main McKenzie syndromes, presence of lateral shift, derangement reducibility, directional preference and centralization.Summary of Background Data. Minimal level of McKenzie post graduate training needed to achieve acceptable agreement of McKenzie classification system is unknown.Methods. Raters (N = 47) completed multiple sets of 2 independent successive examinations at 3 different stages of McKenzie post-graduate training (levels Part A&B, Part C, and Part D). Agreement was assessed with kappa coefficients and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A minimum kappa threshold of 0.60 was used as a pre-determined criterion for level of agreement acceptable for clinical use.Results. Raters examined 1,662 patients (mean age = 51 ± 15, Min, Max: 18 to 91, 57% women). Data distributions were not even and were highly skewed for all classification variables. No training level studied had acceptable agreement for any McKenzie classification variable. Agreements for all levels of McKenzie post-graduate training were higher than expected by chance for most of the classification variables except Part A&B training level for judging lateral shift and centralization and Part D training level for judging reducibility. Agreement between training levels Part A&B, Part C, and Part D were similar with overlapping 95% CIs.Conclusion. Results indicate that level of inter-rater chance corrected agreement of McKenzie classification system was not acceptable for therapists at any level of formal McKenzie post graduate training. This finding raises concerns about the clinical utility of the McKenzie classification system at these training levels. Additional studies are needed to assess agreement levels for therapists who receive additional training or experience at the McKenzie credentialed or diploma levels.

PMID: 24253786 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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