Comparative Strength and Endurance Parameters of the Craniocervical and Cervicothoracic Extensors and Flexors in Females With and Without Idiopathic Neck Pain

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Isometric strength and endurance performance of cervical flexor and extensor muscles were compared in women with (n = 30) and without (n = 30) idiopathic neck pain at the craniocervical and cervicothoracic axes. Strength and endurance time (time to task failure in seconds) at 50% maximal voluntary contraction were recorded in 4 directions (craniocervical flexion/extension and cervicothoracic flexion/extension) and 6 strength and endurance ratios were calculated. Participants in both groups were matched for body mass index. The idiopathic neck pain group demonstrated significantly less strength for the cervicothoracic flexors and extensors (1.58–4.7 N·m [12.4%–17.9%] less, P < .04) and significantly less endurance time for the cervicothoracic and craniocervical flexors (10.77–10.9 s [23.3%–27.5%] less, P < .03). The cervicothoracic extension to craniocervical flexion strength ratio was also lower in the idiopathic neck pain group (P = .01); however, no other strength or endurance ratio was significantly different between groups. This exploratory study suggests assessing specific performance parameters accounting for regional muscular differences in the upper and lower neck is potentially informative to understanding impairments in neck pain conditions, particularly as impairments may not be uniform across muscle groups.

O’Leary, Hoogma, Solberg, Sundberg and Van Wyk are with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. O’Leary is with Physiotherapy Department, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Sundberg is with the Department of Pain Rehabilitation, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden. Pedler is with Recover Injury Research Centre, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Road Traffic Injury, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

O’Leary (s.oleary@uq.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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