|In most joints angular measurements lend themselves well for assessing the degrees of movement restriction. The degree of motion can often be gauged quickly or a goniometer can be employed to measure the degrees of motion more precisely.|
Sometimes other means of measurements come in handy, like in case of flexion of the spine, measuring distances can be quicker and easier.
Flexion of the spine practically is a combined movement of (cervical,) thoracic, lumbar spine and hip flexion.
It is much easier recorded as the distance between the fingers and the toes than it is in degrees as movement occurs in so many places.
Care has to be taken however to establish where the movement occurs!
In the case of multiple joint movement the end result of the movement may look desirable but closer inspection might show that the movement does not occur in the designated areas but rather that other areas compensate for the lack of movement by overstretching.
Getting back to that example of flexion of the spine short lumbar erectors might lead to overstretching in the upper thoracic area – the end result (being able to touch ones toes) might look fine but the flexion occurs in the wrong areas.