Novel assessment of the variation in cervical inter-vertebral motor control in a healthy pain-free population
Spinal control at intervertebral levels is dependent on interactions between the active, passive and neural control elements. However, this has never been quantifiable, and has therefore been outside the reach of clinical assessments and research. This study used fluoroscopy during repeated unconstrained flexion and return neck movements to calculate intersegmental motor control (MC), defined as the difference and variation in repeated continuous angular motion from its average path. The study aimed to determine control values for MC at individual levels and its variability. Twenty male volunteers aged 19–29 received fluoroscopic screening of their cervical spines during 4 repetitions of neutral to full flexion and return motion. Moving vertebral images from C0–C1 to C6–C7 were tracked using cross-correlation codes written in Matlab. MC for each level was defined as the mean of the absolute differences between each repetition’s angular path and their mean and its variability as represented by the SD. 1-way ANOVA and Tukey multiple comparisons were used to identify significant contrasts between levels. The mean MC differences and SDs were highest at C1-2, suggesting that this level has the least control and the most variability. Results at this level alone were highly significant (F-ratio 10.88 and 9.79 P< 0.0001). Significant contrasts were only found between C1-C2 and all other levels. The mean MC difference for summed C1-6 levels was 3.4° (0.7–6.1). This study is the first to quantify intervertebral MC in the cervical spine in asymptomatic people. Studies of neck pain patients are now merited.
du Rose, Alister
Andersen, Victoria Blogg