Factors associated with cervical kinematic impairments in patients with neck pain

Man Ther. 2016 Apr;22:109-15. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2015.10.015. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


Background and aim: Cervical kinematics have functional relevance and are important for assessment and management in patients with neck disorders. A better understanding of factors that might influence cervical kinematics is required. The aim of this study was to determine any relationships between altered kinematics to the symptoms and signs of sensorimotor impairments, neck pain and disability and fear of neck motion in people with neck pain.

Method: Kinematics were measured in 39 subjects with chronic neck pain using a customized virtual reality system. Range of cervical motion, mean and peak velocity, time to peak velocity percentage, number of velocity peaks and accuracy were derived. Correlations between these measures to self-reported (neck pain intensity, disability, fear of motion, dizziness, visual disturbances) and sensorimotor measures and regression analyses were conducted.

Results: Range and velocity of motion of cervical rotation appeared to be most related to visual disturbances and pain or dynamic balance. Nevertheless these relationships only explained about 30% of the variance of each measure.

Conclusion: Signs and symptoms of sensorimotor dysfunction should be considered and monitored in the management of altered cervical rotation kinematics in patients with chronic neck disorders. Future research should consider the effects of addressing these factors on neck kinematics and vice versa to aid functional recovery in those with neck pain.

Keywords: Kinematics; Neck pain; Sensorimotor; Velocity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Muscles / physiopathology*
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*