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Rehabil Res Pract. 2012;2012:186156. doi: 10.1155/2012/186156. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Validity and reproducibility of the measurements obtained using the flexicurve instrument to evaluate the angles of thoracic and lumbar curvatures of the spine in the sagittal plane.

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Physiotherapy Faculty, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), 93022-000 São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil.



to verify the validity and reproducibility of using the flexicurve to measure the angles of the thoracic and lumbar curvatures.


47 subjects were evaluated by: (1) palpation and marking of the spinous processes using lead markers, (2) using X-rays in the sagittal plane to measure the Cobb angles, (3) molding the flexicurve to the spine, and (4) drawing the contour of the flexicurve onto graph paper. The angle of curvature was determined with the flexicurve based on a 3rd order polynomial.


No differences were found between the Cobb angles and the angles obtained using the flexicurve in thoracic and lumbar curvatures (P > 0.05). Correlations were strong and significant for the thoracic (r = 0.72, P < 0.01) and lumbar (r = 0.60, P < 0.01) curvatures. Excellent and significant correlations were found for both the intraevaluator and interevaluator measurements.


The results show that there is no significant difference between the values obtained using the flexicurve and those obtained using the X-ray procedure and that there is a strong correlation between the two methods. This, together with the excellent level of inter- and intraevaluator reproducibility justifies its recommendation for use in clinical practice.

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