Cervical Range of Motion
Anyone who has experienced cervical (neck) pain knows that it can be a real pain in the neck! Consider the fact that the cervical spine, consisting of only seven vertebrae, is responsible for supporting your head which can weigh as much as a bowling ball. No other region of the spine is more mobile or more prone to injury.
Mobility in the neck is measured through range-of-motion testing that includes four distinct tests:
- Flexion measured by ability to touch chin to chest
- Extension measured by tilting your head backwards
- Lateral flexion your ability to touch each ear to your shoulder
Various injuries and/or conditions are responsible for neck pain and can restrict range of motion. These include:
- Whiplash from a car accident – the head can be violently thrust forward and backward beyond its normal range of motion, resulting in muscle pain and stiffness.
- Degenerative conditions – occur as a result of the aging process, such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
- Poor posture and obesity forward head carriage can cause the muscles in the neck to contract and stiffen.
- Spinal fractures, tumors or infections – can be serious and require immediate attention from a medical specialist.
According to a research study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, chiropractic adjustments can significantly improve cervical range of motion. As obvious as that may appear to those who regularly receive chiropractic care, limited range of motion plays a major role in many health problems that usually improve with chiropractic adjustments.