Active head and cervical range of motion: effect of age in healthy females

Davide G Tommasi, Anna C Foppiani, Domenico Galante, Nicola Lovecchio, Chiarella Sforza
Spine 2009 August 15, 34 (18): 1910-6

STUDY DESIGN: A study on active cervical range of motion (RoM) in healthy females of different ages.

OBJECTIVE: Perform a three-dimensional quantitative analysis of active head-cervical RoM in healthy females to assess the relationship with age.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Age-related variations in active cervical RoM are still partially unknown: some investigations demonstrated that age has no effect whatsoever on the primary movements, whereas other studies found an inverse proportionality between age and cervical RoM.

METHODS: Three groups of females were compared: 22 aged 15 to 18 years (adolescents), 25 aged 20 to 30 years (young adults), and 16 aged 35 to 45 years (mid-aged women). Active flexion and extension, lateral bending and axial rotation were recorded via an optoelectronic system. After the mathematical exclusion of thoracic movements, cervical RoM was referred to head local reference system and calculated using the tilt/twist method. Data were compared using analysis of variance.

RESULTS: Flexion and extension were larger in the adolescents (137 degrees ) than in the young adults (128 degrees ) and mid-aged women (127 degrees ). Lateral bending had similar ranges in the 3 groups: 103 degrees for adolescents, 101 degrees for young adults, and 100 degrees for mid-aged women. Axial rotation had similar ranges in the adolescents and in the mid-aged women (143 degrees ) and a slightly larger range in the young adults (151 degrees ). Primary movements were always associated with out-of-plane components.

CONCLUSION: In healthy females, between 15 and 45 years old, cervical RoMs in the principal planes decrease (except for rotation), but these variations are not statistically significant (P > 0.05).

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