Differences in Human Cervical Spine Kinematics for Active and Passive Motions of Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Subject Groups

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Most musculoskeletal disorders of the head and neck regions cannot be identified through imaging techniques; therefore clinician-conducted assessments (passive motions) are used to evaluate the functional ability of these regions. Although active motions do not require interaction with a clinician, these movements can also provide diagnostic indicators of dysfunction. The purpose of this research was to determine whether kinematic measures differed between active and passive movements of participants in symptomatic and asymptomatic groups. Data obtained on cervical lateral flexion range of motion (ROM), coupled axial rotation, and the angular velocity of lateral flexion were statistically analyzed and demonstrated differences between active and passive motions for symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects. Active motions had higher angular velocities (P < .001) and larger ROMs, with greater lateral flexions (P < .05). The asymptomatic group produced a larger average lateral flexion of 7.9° at an average angular velocity of 2 deg/s greater than the symptomatic group. Trends with regard to group assignment were the same for active and passive motions. This work demonstrates the potential for using kinematic measures of active and passive motions to develop an objective standard for diagnoses of cervical dysfunction and supports validity of the clinician-based analysis to distinguish between participant groups.

Brad Rutledge and Tamara Reid Bush (Corresponding Author) are with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Joseph Vorro is with the Department of Family Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Mingfei Li is with the Department of Mathematical Sciences and Center for Quantitative Analysis, Bentley University, Waltham, MA. Lisa DeStefano, Sherman Gorbis, and Timothy Francisco are with the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Michael Seffinger is with the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA.