Assessment of motion in the cervico-thoracic spine in patients with subacute whiplash-associated disorders
Lina Bunketorp Käll
Objective: To investigate the distribution of segmental flexion mobility in the cervico-thoracic spine of men and women with whiplash-associated disorders. The study also assesses the relationship between cervical mobility and segmental flexion mobility, and whether hypomobility in C7–T1 is associated with neck pain and weakness in the hands. Finally, the study investigates the impact of fear of movement/(re)injury and pain intensity on cervical mobility.
Method: The data in this longitudinal study was obtained from a previous trial on 47 patients. Assessments were performed at baseline and 3 and 9 months following randomization using a cervical range of motion instrument, the cervico-thoracic ratio, a Grippit, a visual analogue scale, a Painmatcher, and the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia.
Results: Women exhibited hypomobility in C7–T1. There was no significant association between the 2 cervical measurement techniques. The correlation between flexion mobility in C7–T1 and grip strength was weak but significant (r=–0.3) (p<0.05). There was also a weak but significant negative correlation between total cervical mobility and neck pain intensity. No significant correlation was found between fear of movement/(re)injury and cervical mobility.
Conclusion: Women with whiplash-associated disorders seem to exhibit flexion hypomobility in C7–T1. The flexion mobility in C7–T1 was weakly, but significantly, correlated with grip strength, but was not shown to predict neck pain. Neck pain may give rise to restricted range of motion.
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