Author(s): Rudolfsson T, Bjrklund M, Djupsjbacka M
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Abstract Reduced cervical range of motion (ROM) is a common finding in people with neck pain. With few exceptions, only the angle between head and thorax has been measured. Our aim was to use an extended model to compare active cervical flexion and extension, separate for upper and lower cervical levels, between people with chronic non-traumatic neck pain and controls. We also investigated associations between ROM measures, symptoms and self-rated functioning. In this cross-sectional study, 102 subjects with neck pain and 33 healthy controls participated. An electromagnetic tracker system was used to measure the kinematics to construct a three-segment model including the thorax, cervical spine and head. Neutral flexion/extension were defined at subjects' self-selected seated posture. We found that in the neck pain group, extension in the upper cervical levels and predominately flexion for the lower levels were reduced. The ratio between ROM for the upper and lower levels was altered in the neck pain group so that the lower levels contributed to a lesser extent to the total sagittal ROM compared to controls. These findings could not be explained by a greater forward head posture but must have other origins. For the neck pain group, ROM measures were weakly associated to pain and self-rated functioning. Altogether, this implies that using a three-segment model for assessment of ROM can be a valuable improvement for characterisation of patients and treatment evaluation. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Man Ther
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation