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Chiropractic Research Review

Quantifying Segmental Cervical ROM

The investigators conducted this study to deal with a particular diagnostic problem: "Accurate assessment and analysis of cervical motion can be a useful tool in clinical studies, but is challenging because the relatively spherical head does not provide good reference points, and the head moves in a combination of axes." Their aim was to quantify the contribution of each cervical segment to cervical full-length flexion, full-length extension, protrusion, and retraction.

Twenty asymptomatic subjects volunteered to participate in the study (11 females, 9 males; age 20-49).

Lateral cervical radiographs for the four test positions and a neutral position were obtained for all subjects. The results demonstrated that each part of the cervical spine moved differently depending on the motion assessed. For example, the lower cervical spine went into extension and the upper cervicals into flexion in order to perform retraction.

The findings showed that there is a greater ROM at Occ-C1 and C1-C2 for the protruded and retracted positions compared with the full-length flexion and extension positions. The study concluded: "Effects of cervical symptoms reported to occur in response to flexion, extension, protrusion, and retraction test movements may correspond with the position of lower cervical spine segments."

Ordway NR, Seymour RJ, Donelson RG, et al. Cervical flexion, extension, protrusion, and retraction: a radiographic segmental analysis. Spine, Feb. 1, 1999;24(3), pp240-47.

Chiropractic Research Review

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