Clinical symptoms related to musculoskeletal neck-shoulder pain and mobility in the cervico-thoracic spine

Scand J Rehabil Med. 1998 Dec;30(4):243-51. doi: 10.1080/003655098443995.


In a cross-sectional study 142 male and 139 female workers participated in a self-report questionnaire and a clinical examination. The aim of this study was to use the cervico-thoracic ratio (CTR), a clinical method for measuring segmental mobility between C7 and T5, to evaluate the influence of segmental mobility in neck-shoulder pain and different subjectively experienced symptoms. The study showed that reduced relative mobility at levels C7-T1 and T1-T2 significantly predicted neck-shoulder pain and the symptom weakness in the hands. The strongest relationship between segmental mobility and symptoms was found among subjects classified as having an inverse C7-T1 function, defined as equal or less mobility in motion segment C7-T1 compared to T1-T2. Reduced mobility explained 14% of neck-shoulder pain and 15% of weakness in the hands. It is suggested that deviation from synchronous distribution of mobility between motion segments C7-T1 and T1-T2 might be a factor provoking joint mechano receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Neck Pain / diagnosis*
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis*
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology
  • Spine / physiopathology*