Normal global motion of the cervical spine: an electrogoniometric study

V Feipel, B Rondelet, J Le Pallec, M Rooze
Clinical Biomechanics 1999, 14 (7): 462-70

OBJECTIVE: Establishment of a normal database and clinical reference of active global cervical spine motion ranges and patterns using a commercial electrogoniometer.

DESIGN: Three-dimensional cervical motion ranges and patterns were analyzed in 250 asymptomatic volunteers.

BACKGROUND: In vivo out-of-plane motion patterns of the cervical spine have not yet been reported in large populations, but could be of clinical interest.

METHODS: In 250 subjects (aged 14-70 yr), motion range and patterns between the first thoracic vertebra and the head were analyzed for flexion-extension, lateral bending, rotation in neutral sagittal plane position and in full flexion using the CA 6000 Spine Motion Analyzer.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Average motion range in the sagittal plane was 122 degrees (SD: 18 degrees ). Flexion was slightly more important than extension. Out-of-plane components were negligible. Global bending range averaged 88 degrees (SD: 16 degrees ), left and right bending being comparable. Homolateral rotation was associated to lateral bending. Its extent was approximately 40% of the bending range. Global rotation range in neutral sagittal plane position was 144 degrees (SD: 20 degrees ), without significant difference between right and left rotations. Associated motion components were small. During rotation in flexed head position, global range (134 degrees, SD: 24 degrees ) was comparable to the one in neutral flexion. But heterolateral bending, averaging 60% of the primary motion, was associated to flexed rotation. Significant reduction of all primary (but not conjunct) motions with age were obtained. Sex had no influence on cervical motion range.

RELEVANCE: Our results agreed with previous observations, validating the methodology used. They thus constitute reference data of cervical out-of-plane motion for clinical applications.

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