Trial into the effects of repeated neck retractions in normal subjects

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1995 Jun 1;20(11):1245-50; discussion 1251. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199506000-00006.


Study design: This investigation measured the immediate effects of 10, 20, and 30 repeated neck retraction movements on the retraction range of motion and resting neck posture in asymptomatic subjects.

Objectives: The results provide baseline gross kinematic data concerning the effects of neck retraction movements. Future work involving patients is anticipated and proposed.

Summary of background information: Neck retraction movements are an assessment maneuver and a treatment technique advocated by Robin McKenzie for patients with neck pain. They are a commonly prescribed physical therapy technique used to treat patients with neck pain and dysfunction. No previous studies of this maneuver have been reported.

Methods: Two groups of 15 subjects, one group 20-29 years old and the other 50-59 years old, participated. Each group performed three sets of 10 repeated movements. The position of the head and neck were recorded by the 3Space Isotrak System using markers placed over the spinous processes of selected vertebrae and the tragus of the ear.

Results: After the repeated movements, no statistically significant difference was found in neck retraction range of motion, but a statistically significant change in the resting neck posture was detected.

Conclusions: Any changes in neck retraction range of motion observed after the execution of this maneuver in patients with neck pain may be the result of changes in a pathological process. If the postural change were to occur in patients, this treatment maneuver could be beneficial for those attempting to maintain a more retracted neck position for pain relief.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Posture
  • Reference Values