An investigation of neck pain in older adults, and its relation with shoulder position sense and upper extremity function

Somatosens Mot Res. 2021 Dec;38(4):333-338. doi: 10.1080/08990220.2021.1977266. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


Purpose: Neck pain is a musculoskeletal problem increasing with age. The disorders that occurs in the neck region may also affect the upper extremity due to its close anatomical relationships. The aim of this study was to determine whether neck pain affects shoulder position sense and upper extremity function in the older adults.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out in nursing homes. The older adults over 65 years of age with chronic neck pain for the last 6 months were included. Pain intensity was evaluated with a Visual Analog Scale. Acumar dual digital inclinometer was used for the evaluation of shoulder position sense. 9-Hole Peg Test was used for the measure of upper extremity function.

Results: It was found dominant side shoulder position sense and the function of both upper extremities were different between the three groups (p < 0.05). Pain was correlated with dominant and non-dominant 60ᵒ flexion shoulder position sense and 60ᵒ abduction shoulder position sense (p < 0.05). Additionally, a relationship was found only between pain and non-dominant side upper extremity function (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: In conclusion, we found that in older adults with neck pain, position sense and function decreased in upper extremities. The findings from this study support that detailed evaluation of anatomically related regions as well as the cervical region where pain is felt is important in creating a more effective rehabilitation program.

Keywords: Older adults; neck pain; position sense; upper extremity function.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Neck Pain*
  • Proprioception
  • Shoulder*
  • Upper Extremity