Purpose: To investigate the different cervical strategies for maintaining horizontal gaze in asymptomatic subjects.
Methods: One hundred and forty-four asymptomatic adults filled the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire and underwent full-body biplanar radiographs. Chin brow vertical angle (CBVA) and postural and cervical parameters were measured. Subjects were grouped according to cervical spine curvature (C2-C7 angle): kyphotic (< - 5°), straight [- 5°, 5°], lordotic (> 5°). Demographics, SF-36 component scores and CBVA were compared between groups. All other parameters were compared between groups, while controlling for confounding factors (ANCOVA). A correlation test was conducted between all cervical parameters.
Results: 32% of subjects had kyphotic (- 12° ± 7°), 27% straight (0° ± 3°) and 41% lordotic (12° ± 7°) cervical spines. While demographic and SF-36 data did not differ between groups, CBVA differed between lordotic and kyphotic groups (2° vs. 6.5°, p = 0.002). Sagittal vertical axis (SVA) and thoracic kyphosis (TK) were lower in the kyphotic group (SVA: K = - 26 ± 20 mm vs. L = - 2 ± 21 mm, p < 0.001; TK: K = 40° ± 6° vs. L = 51° ± 8°, p < 0.001). C2 slope (K = 29° ± 6° vs. L = 18° ± 6°, p < 0.001), C0-C2 (K = 42° ± 8° vs. L = 30° ± 8°, p < 0.001) and C1-C2 (K = 33° ± 6° vs. L = 28° ± 6°, p = 0.004) were higher in the kyphotic group. Significant correlations were found between almost all cervical parameters and C2-C7 angle.
Conclusions: Subjects with cervical kyphosis presented with more posterior global alignment and lower TK than subjects with lordosis. In order to maintain horizontal gaze, subjects with cervical kyphosis presented with a more lordotic upper cervical spine than subjects with cervical lordosis. Subjects with straight cervical curvature presented with an intermediate sagittal alignment. These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.
Keywords: Asymptomatic subjects; Cervical Spine; Global alignment; Horizontal gaze; Sagittal balance.