Age One Factor Associated with Decline in Cervical Range of MotionPhysicians use range of motion (ROM) of the neck to determine functional status of patients with degenerative spine disorders. Although several studies involving the spine have been done, most focus on the lower back, rather than the upper back and neck. In those studies, however, there have been findings that patients with degenerative changes in the spine do have a reduced ROM.
The authors of this study sought to assess the effects of age, gender, degeneration, and the degeneration of adjacent levels and the relationship with ROM of the upper back and neck.
Researchers accessed the records of 195 patients (133 females), ranging in age from 15 to 93 years, who had presented with complaint of pain in the cervical spine. X-rays were examined of the patients in a standing natural posture position and of the neck bent upwards and downwards.
The x-rays were assessed by a musculoskeletal surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, an a spine surgeon. ROM was assessed by a spine surgeon and two orthopedic fellows.
The study findings revealed that patient age was associated with a decline in ROM to the about five degrees every 10 years. Degeneration seemed to be responsible from 0.8 to 1.2 degrees in change depending on the level.
The authors write that these findings help provide "a framework with which to counsel patients about cervical ROM and a benchmark from which procedure specific changes can be compared."
Andrew K. Simpson, BS, et al. Quantifying the Effects of Age, Gender, Degeneration, and Adjacent Level Degeneration on Cervical Spine Range of Motion Using Multivariate Analyses. In Spine. January 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 2. Pp. 183-186.
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