Article

Changes in the Sagittal Cranio-Cervical Posture Following a 12-Week Intervention Using a Simple Spinal Traction Device

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Abstract

Study design: Non-controlled clinical trial OBJECTIVE.: To assess the efficacy of a simple home spinal traction device on sagittal cranio-cervical posture and related symptoms. Summary of background data: Forward head protraction (FHP) and cranio-cervical malalignment were shown to be consequential in the development adverse musculoskeletal radiographic findings and symptoms in that region. Methods: Participants (n = 13, 18 - 36-year-old) were drawn from a mildly symptomatic population, all presented with cranio-cervical malalignment and considerable FHP. Participants used a simple home spinal traction device for 12 weeks, 10 minutes/day. Sagittal cervical radiographs and the SF36 health survey were obtained pre/post intervention and guideline compliance was recorded. Radiographic evaluation included typical measurements of sagittal cranio-cervical alignment and FHP (e.g. atlas plane line, vertical axis line, sagittal cranial angle, absolute rotation angle). Standard paired samples t-tests, CHI Squared and Effect Size analyses were used to assess pre- and post-intervention changes. Results: Each of the key radiographic variables recorded significant moderate to very large positive changes as a result of the intervention. Similarly, CHI squared analyses indicated that saggital cervical spine configuration tended to become more lordotic (P = 0.007), with four participants shifting from a kyphotic to a lordotic presentation. SF36 health survey data demonstrated mostly significant positive changes throughout all tested domains, and moderate positive changes were recorded across all radiographic cranio-cervical mesured paramenters (e.g. decreased FHP, increased cervical lordosis and cranial extention). Participants indicated high level of protocol compliance. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that the unsupervised daily use of a simple home spinal traction device (Thoracic Pillow®) proved effective in bringing positive plastic changes to the sagittal cranio-cervical alignment and reduction in symptoms in the tested population during a short intervention period. Level of evidence: 3.

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... Furthermore, semispinalis cervicis training and deep cervical flexor training have also been shown to have a similarly significant effect on improving FHP, neck pain and neck disability compared with usual care (i.e., manual therapy, modality, electrotherapy, stretching and upper-limbstrengthening exercises) (Suvarnnato et al., 2019).Structural correction of cervical sagittal alignment should also be considered in FHP rehabilitation as FHP is commonly associated with spinal malalignment(Shahar & Sayers, 2019). The study byShahar and Sayers (2019) indicated that the cervical sagittal configuration became more lordotic in patients with FHP after a 12-week spinal traction intervention, accompanied by reduction of symptoms (e.g., craniocervical stiffness). A randomized controlled trial byMoustafa et al. (2018) also reported positive changes in the cervical sagittal configuration after 10-week spinal traction among participants with CVA less than 50 degrees. ...
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Introduction Forward head posture (FHP) is one of the most common postural deviations nowadays. Deep neck muscle imbalance of individuals with FHP is of primary concern in clinical rehabilitation. However, there is scarce quantitative research on changes in deep neck muscle length with the head moving forward. This study aimed to investigate changes in deep neck muscle length with different severity levels of FHP. Materials and Methods Six Thiel-embalmed cadavers (four males and two females) were dissected, and 16 deep neck muscles in each cadaver were modeled by a MicroScribe 3D Digitizer in the neutral head posture, slight FHP, and severe FHP. The craniovertebral angle was used to evaluate the degrees of FHP. Quantitative length change of the deep neck muscles was analyzed using Rhinoceros 3D. Results In slight FHP significant changes in length occurred in four muscles: two shortened (upper semispinalis capitis, rectus capitis posterior minor) and two lengthened (longus capitis, splenius cervicis). In severe FHP all occipital extensors were significantly shortened (10.6±6.4%), except for obliquus capitis superior, and all cervical extensors were significantly lengthened (4.8±3.4%), while longus capitis (occipital flexor) and the superior oblique part of the longus colli (cervical flexor) were lengthened by 8.8±3.8% and 4.2±3.1%, respectively. No significant length change was observed for the axial rotator. Conclusions This study presents an alternate anatomical insight into the clinical rehabilitation of FHP. Six muscles appear to be important in restoring optimal head posture, with improvements in FHP being related to interventions associated with the occipital and cervical extensors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... On the T2-weighted sagittal image, the maximum spinal cord compression (MSCC) rate = (a/(b+c))*100%. On the T1-weighted sagittal image, the maximum canal compromise (MCC) rate = (a/(b+c))*100% [17,18]. ...
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... In fact, cervical traction relates to the anteflexed posture of head and neck. With the anteflexed angles adjusted from 5°to 20°, the maximum traction tress concentrates from upper cervical vertebrae to the lower [13,14]. In the CSR, the frequent lesion site is C5-C6 [15]; due to the structural features of cervical spine, when vertical traction is carried out with JOBT that lacks head and neck fixtures, the direction of traction force does not coincide with the normal line of cervical cross section. ...
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Traction of cervical spine is an effective method for the treatment of cervical spondylotic radiculopathy (CSR). In this study, a cervical tractor named traction exercise neck brace (TENB) was used to evaluate its effect on the patients with CSR. Forty CSR volunteers were recruited and randomly divided into two groups. One group was subjected to cervical muscle exercise with TENB under static traction condition. Another group was subjected to (JOBT) as controls. Symptoms of CSR were evaluated by the visual analogue scale (VAS) and neck disability index (NDI). Imaging characteristics were assessed by curvature of the cervical spine and size of the intervertebral foramen. A finite element (FE) analysis model of cervical spine was established by 3D reconstruction to simulate the TENB traction, which evaluates the biomechanical performance. Results showed that TENB significantly reduced scores of VAS and NDI in subjects, and this improved effect on symptoms of pain and radiculopathy is better than that of JOBT. TENB also improved the cervical curvature and enlarged intervertebral foramen at the C4–C6 level. Moreover, FE analysis found that simulated TENB traction increased the spacing of intervertebral foramen, intervertebral disc, and zygapophyseal and uncovertebral joints and changed the stress distribution on the facet joints and nucleus pulposus. This study demonstrates that TENB relieves the symptoms of CSR by adjusting structure of cervical vertebra and restoring its biomechanical performance, which may be a promising instrument in the treatment of CSR.
... Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2162 2 of 8 increased cervical range of motion, and improved functional status by elongating the intervertebral spaces [9][10][11]. Nonetheless, a number of studies have reported mixed results of the traction technique and shown that traction has no advantage over other conservative methods, such as physical treatment and placebo intervention, for cervical intervertebral disc diseases [12][13][14][15]. ...
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The newly developed cervical lordotic curve-controlled traction (C-LCCT) appears to be an ideal method to improve the treatment outcome in patients with cervical intervertebral disc disease. The purpose of this study was to investigate the treatment outcomes of C-LCCT including the functional and morphological changes of the cervical intervertebral disc compared to traditional traction (TT) with a randomized controlled trial design. A total of 40 patients with cervical intervertebral disc disease at the C5/6 level confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging were recruited and assigned to either the C-LCCT group or the TT group. The comprehensive health status changes of the patients were recorded using pain and functional scores (Visual Analogue Scale, Oswestry Disability Index) and morphological changes (cervical lordosis, cervical central canal area) before and after the traction treatment. Both groups showed a significant improvement in pain scores after traction (p < 0.05). The functional score and morphological changes improved significantly after treatment in the C-LCCT group. However, there was no significant improvement in the TT group (p < 0.05). The C-LCCT showed significant pain, functional, and morphological improvement compared to TT. C-LCCT could be effective in improving the treatment outcomes of the traction technique in patients with cervical intervertebral disc disease.
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To date, optimal strategies for the management of patients with cervical radiculopathy remain elusive. Preliminary evidence suggests that a multimodal treatment program consisting of manual therapy, exercise, and cervical traction may result in positive outcomes for patients with cervical radiculopathy. However, limited evidence exists to support the use of mechanical cervical traction in patients with cervical radiculopathy. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of manual therapy and exercise, with or without the addition of cervical traction, on pain, function, and disability in patients with cervical radiculopathy. This study was a multicenter randomized clinical trial. The study was conducted in orthopedic physical therapy clinics. Patients diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy (N=81) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: a group that received manual therapy, exercise, and intermittent cervical traction (MTEXTraction group) and a group that received manual therapy, exercise, and sham intermittent cervical traction (MTEX group). Patients were treated, on average, 2 times per week for an average of 4.2 weeks. Outcome measurements were collected at baseline and at 2 weeks and 4 weeks using the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS), the Patient-Specific Functional Scale (PSFS), and the Neck Disability Index (NDI). There were no significant differences between the groups for any of the primary or secondary outcome measures at 2 weeks or 4 weeks. The effect size between groups for each of the primary outcomes was small (NDI=1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]=-6.8 to 3.8; PSFS=0.29, 95% CI=-1.8 to 1.2; and NPRS=0.52, 95% CI=-1.8 to 1.2). The use of a nonvalidated clinical prediction rule to diagnose cervical radiculopathy and the lack of a control group without treatment were limitations of this study. The results suggest that the addition of mechanical cervical traction to a multimodal treatment program of manual therapy and exercise yields no significant additional benefit to pain, function, or disability in patients with cervical radiculopathy.
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Background: Extended use of conventional computer input devices is associated with negative musculoskeletal outcomes. While many alternative designs have been proposed, it is unclear whether these devices reduce biomechanical loading and musculoskeletal outcomes. Objective: To review studies describing and evaluating the biomechanical loading and musculoskeletal outcomes associated with conventional and alternative input devices. Methods: Included studies evaluated biomechanical loading and/or musculoskeletal outcomes of users' distal or proximal upper extremity regions associated with the operation of alternative input devices (pointing devices, mice, other devices) that could be used in a desktop personal computing environment during typical office work. Results: Some alternative pointing device designs (e.g. rollerbar) were consistently associated with decreased biomechanical loading while other designs had inconsistent results across studies. Most alternative keyboards evaluated in the literature reduce biomechanical loading and musculoskeletal outcomes. Studies of other input devices (e.g. touchscreen and gestural controls) were rare, however, those reported to date indicate that these devices are currently unsuitable as replacements for traditional devices. Conclusions: Alternative input devices that reduce biomechanical loading may make better choices for preventing or alleviating musculoskeletal outcomes during computer use, however, it is unclear whether many existing designs are effective.
Article
Study Design. Computer analysis of digitized vertebral body corners on lateral cervical radiographs. Objectives. Using elliptical and circular modeling, the geometric shape of the path of the posterior bodies of C2–C7 was sought in normal, acute pain, and chronic pain subjects. To determine the least squares error per point for paths of geometric shapes, minor axis to major axis elliptical ratios (b/a), Cobb angles, sagittal balance of C2 above C7, and posterior tangent segmental and global angles. Summary of Background Data. When restricted to cervical lordotic configurations, normal, acute pain, and chronic pain subjects have not been compared for similarities or differences of these parameters. Conventional Cobb angles provide only a comparison of the endplates of the distal vertebrae, while geometric modeling provides the shape of the entire sagittal curves, the orientation of the spine, and segmental angles. Methods. Radiographs of 72 normal subjects, 52 acute neck pain subjects, and 70 chronic neck pain subjects were digitized. For normal subjects, the inclusion criteria were no kyphotic cervical segments, no cranial-cervical symptoms, and less than ± 10 mm horizontal displacement of C2 above C7. In pain subjects, inclusion criteria were no kyphotic cervical segments and less than 25 mm of horizontal displacement of C2 above C7. Measurements included segmental angles, global angles of lordosis (C1–C7 and C2–C7), height-to-length ratios, anterior weight bearing, and from modeling, circular center, and radius of curvature. Results. In the normal group, a family of ellipses wasfound to closely approximate the posterior body margins of C2–C7 with a least squares error of less than 1 mm per vertebral body point. The only ellipse/circle found to include T1, with a least squares error of less than 1 mm, was a circle. Compared with the normal group, the pain group’s mean radiographic angles were reduced and the radius of curvature was larger. For normal, acute, and chronic pain groups, the mean angles between posterior tangents on C2–C7 were 34.5°, 28.6°, and 22.0°, C2–C7Cobb angles were 26.8°, 16.5°, and 12.7°, and radius of curvature were r = 132.8 mm, r = 179 mm, and r = 245.4 mm, respectively. Conclusions. The mean cervical lordosis for all groups could be closely modeled with a circle. Pain groups had hypolordosis and larger radiuses of curvature compared with the normal group. Circular modeling may be a valuable tool in the discrimination between normal lordosis and hypolordosis in normal and pain subjects.
Article
A biomechanical study using human spine specimens. To study postural compensations in lordosis angles that are necessary to maintain horizontal gaze in the presence of forward head posture and increasing T1 sagittal tilt. Forward head posture (FHP) relative to the shoulders, assessed radiographically using the horizontal offset distance between the C2 and C7 vertebral bodies (C2-C7 SVA), is a measure of global cervical imbalance. This may result from kyphotic alignment of cervical segments, muscle imbalance, as well as malalignment of thoracolumbar spine. Ten cadaveric cervical spines (Occiput-T1) were tested. The T1 vertebra was anchored to a tilting and translating base. The occiput was free to move vertically but its angular orientation was constrained to ensure horizontal gaze regardless of sagittal imbalance. A 5kg mass was attached to the occiput to mimic head weight. FHP magnitude and T1 tilt were varied and motions of individual vertebrae were measured to calculate C2-C7 SVA and lordosis across C0-C2 and C2-C7. Increasing C2-C7 SVA caused flexion of lower cervical (C2-C7) segments and hyperextension of sub-occipital (C0-C1-C2) segments in order to maintain horizontal gaze. Increasing kyphotic T1 tilt primarily increased lordosis across the C2-C7 segments. Regression models were developed to predict the compensatory C0-C2 and C2-C7 angulation needed to maintain horizontal gaze given values of C2-C7 SVA and T1 tilt. This study established predictive relationships between radiographic measures of FHP, T1 tilt, and postural compensations in the cervical lordosis angles needed to maintain horizontal gaze. The laboratory model predicted that normalization of C2-C7 SVA will reduce sub-occipital (C0-C2) hyperextension; while T1 tilt reduction will reduce the hyperextension in the C2-C7 segments. The predictive relationships may help in planning corrective strategy in patients experiencing neck pain, which may be attributed to sagittal malalignment.
Article
An ageing, physically inactive and increasingly obese population, coupled with finite health and social care resources, requires a shift from treating musculoskeletal disease when it arises to a preventive approach promoting lifelong musculoskeletal health. A public health approach to musculoskeletal health ensures that people are able to live not only long, but also well. Supporting self-management, addressing common misconceptions about the inevitability of musculoskeletal conditions, and offering brief interventions to support necessary lifestyle changes are basic public health functions that all health professionals can deliver. More specialist public health skills including needs assessment, data interpretation and service planning are also needed to deliver high quality services. These will require improvements in the data collected about musculoskeletal health nationally. A public health approach would benefit individuals through reduced pain and improved function due to musculoskeletal conditions, and wider society by minimising lost economic productivity and lowering health and social care costs. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Article
Study design: Retrospective analysis of kinematic magnetic resonance images. Objective: To provide baseline data on the segmental angular and translational motion of the degenerated cervical spine by subtype of kyphotic cervical deformity and to elucidate the relationship between motion and degree of spinal cord compression. Summary of background data: Kyphotic deformities of the cervical spine are relatively common and are classified as either global or focal. Nevertheless, the effects of kyphotic subtype on cervical segmental motion and degree of spinal cord compression are unknown. Methods: A total of 1171 symptomatic patients (618 females, 553 males) underwent cervical kinematic magnetic resonance imaging in the neutral, flexion, and extension positions. Cervical spines demonstrating kyphosis were included and classified into 3 groups: (1) "global kyphotic deformity" (C-type) (n = 54); (2) "sigmoid deformity" (S-type) with kyphotic upper and lordotic lower cervical segments (n = 29); and (3) "reverse sigmoid deformity" (R-type) with lordotic upper and kyphotic lower cervical segments (n = 39). Translational motion, angular motion, and degree of spinal cord compression were evaluated for each cervical level along with the changes associated with flexion and extension. Results: In the C- and R-types, angular motion with extension was increased in the upper cervical spine, where there was kyphosis; when compared with the S-type, in which there was lordosis in the upper segments. The results were opposite for flexion angular motion. R-type displayed more translational motion at C3-C4 and C5-C6. Degree of static spinal cord compression of R-type was higher than the others at C3-C4. The dynamic spinal cord compression increased in extension more than flexion in all subtypes. Conclusion: Cervical spine studies that aim to investigate kyphotic deformities should make efforts to discern the different subtypes of kyphotic deformities to more accurately characterize and study the effects that the sagittal alignment has on the kinematics of the spine and the degree of spinal cord compression.
Article
Study design: Narrative review. Objective: To provide a comprehensive narrative review of cervical alignment parameters, the methods for quantifying cervical alignment, normal cervical alignment values, and how alignment is associated with cervical deformity and myelopathy with discussions of health-related quality of life. Summary of background data: Indications for surgery to correct cervical alignment are not well-defined and there is no set standard to address the amount of correction to be achieved. In addition, classifications of cervical deformity have yet to be fully established and treatment options defined and clarified. Methods: A survey of the cervical spine literature was conducted. Results: New normative cervical alignment values from an asymptomatic volunteer population are introduced, updated methods for quantifying cervical alignment are discussed, and describing the relationship between cervical alignment, disability, and myelopathy are outlined. Specifically, methods used to quantify cervical alignment include cervical lordosis, cervical sagittal vertical axis, and horizontal gaze with the chin-brow vertical angle. Updated methods include T1 slope. Evidence from a few recent studies suggests correlations between radiographical parameters in the cervical spine and health-related quality of life. Analysis of the cervical regional alignment with respect to overall spinal pelvic alignment is emerging and critical. Cervical myelopathy and sagittal alignment of the cervical spine are closely related as cervical deformity can lead to spinal cord compression and tension. Conclusion: Cervical deformity correction should take on a comprehensive approach in assessing global cervical-pelvic relationships and the radiographical parameters that effect health-related quality of life scores are not well-defined. Cervical alignment may be important in assessment and treatment of cervical myelopathy. Future work should concentrate on correlation of cervical alignment parameters to disability scores and myelopathy outcomes. SUMMARY STATEMENTS: STATEMENT 1: Cervical sagittal alignment (cervical SVA and kyphosis) is related to thoracolumbar spinal pelvic alignment and to T1 slope. STATEMENT 2: When significant deformity is clinically or radiographically suspected, regional cervical and relative global spinal alignment should be evaluated preoperatively via standing 3-foot scoliosis X-rays for appropriate operative planning. STATEMENT 3: Cervical sagittal alignment (C2-C7 SVA) is correlated to regional disability, general health scores and to myelopathy severity. STATEMENT 4: When performing decompressive surgery for CSM, consideration should be given to correction of cervical kyphosis and cervical sagittal imbalance (C2-C7 SVA) when present.
Article
PURPOSE: To investigate the frequency of tandem lumbar and cervical intervertebral disc degeneration in asymptomatic subjects. METHODS: We evaluated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results from 94 volunteers (48 men and 46 women; mean age 48 years) for age-related intervertebral disc degeneration in the lumbar and cervical spine. RESULTS: MRI indicated degenerative changes in the lumbar spine in 79 subjects (84 %), with decreased disc signal intensity in 74.5 %, posterior disc protrusion in 78.7 %, anterior compression of the dura in 81.9 %, disc space narrowing in 21.3 %, and spinal canal stenosis in 12.8 %. These findings were more common in older subjects at caudal levels. MRI showed degenerative changes in both the lumbar and cervical spine in 78.7 % of the volunteers. CONCLUSIONS: Degenerative findings in both the lumbar and cervical spine, suggesting tandem disc degeneration, was common in asymptomatic subjects. These results provide normative data for evaluating patients with degenerative lumbar and cervical disc diseases.
Article
It is unclear how age-related postural changes such as thoracic spine kyphosis influence cervical range-of-motion (ROM) in patients with cervical spine dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to explore the mediating effects of forward head posture (FHP) on the relationship between thoracic kyphosis and cervical mobility in older adults with cervical spine dysfunction. Fifty-one older adults (30 females, mean[SD]age = 66[4.9] years) with cervical spine dysfunction - that is, cervical pain with or without referred pain, numbness or paraesthesia - participated. Pain-related disability was measured using the neck disability index (NDI). Thoracic kyphosis was measured using a flexicurve. FHP was assessed via the craniovertebral angle (CVA) measured from a digitized, lateral-view photograph of each subject. Cervical ROM - namely, upper and general cervical rotation and cervical flexion - was measured by the Cervical Range-of-Motion (CROM) device. Greater thoracic kyphosis was significantly associated with lesser CVA (Spearman ρ = -0.48) whereas greater CVA was significantly associated with greater cervical flexion (Spearman ρ = 0.30) and general rotation ROM (ρ = 0.33), but not with upper cervical rotation ROM (ρ = 0.15). Bootstrap mediational analyses, adjusted for age, gender, weight and NDI, revealed significant indirect effects of thoracic kyphosis on cervical flexion and general rotation ROM through a FHP. Our results show that FHP mediated the relationship between thoracic kyphosis and cervical ROM, specifically general cervical rotation and flexion. These results not only support the justifiable attention given to addressing FHP to improve cervical impairments, but they also suggest that addressing thoracic kyphosis impairments may constitute an "upstream" approach.
Article
Work-related upper limb and neck musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common occupational disorders around the world. Although ergonomic design and training are likely to reduce the risk of workers developing work-related upper limb and neck MSDs, the evidence is unclear. To assess the effects of workplace ergonomic design or training interventions, or both, for the prevention of work-related upper limb and neck MSDs in adults. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), CINAHL, AMED, Web of Science (Science Citation Index), SPORTDiscus, Cochrane Occupational Safety and Health Review Group Database and Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register to July 2010, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health database, and International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre database to November 2010. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of ergonomic workplace interventions for preventing work-related upper limb and neck MSDs. We included only studies with a baseline prevalence of MSDs of the upper limb or neck, or both, of less than 25%. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We included studies with relevant data that we judged to be sufficiently homogeneous regarding the intervention and outcome in the meta-analysis. We assessed the overall quality of the evidence for each comparison using the GRADE approach. We included 13 RCTs (2397 workers). Eleven studies were conducted in an office environment and two in a healthcare setting. We judged one study to have a low risk of bias. The 13 studies evaluated effectiveness of ergonomic equipment, supplementary breaks or reduced work hours, ergonomic training, a combination of ergonomic training and equipment, and patient lifting interventions for preventing work-related MSDs of the upper limb and neck in adults.Overall, there was moderate-quality evidence that arm support with alternative mouse reduced the incidence of neck/shoulder disorders (risk ratio (RR) 0.52; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.27 to 0.99) but not the incidence of right upper limb MSDs (RR 0.73; 95% CI 0.32 to 1.66); and low-quality evidence that this intervention reduced neck/shoulder discomfort (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.41; 95% CI -0.69 to -0.12) and right upper limb discomfort (SMD -0.34; 95% CI -0.63 to -0.06).There was also moderate-quality evidence that the incidence of neck/shoulder and right upper limb disorders were not reduced when comparing alternative mouse and conventional mouse (neck/shoulder RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.19 to 2.00; right upper limb RR 0.91; 95% CI 0.48 to 1.72), arm support and no arm support with conventional mouse (neck/shoulder RR 0.67; 95% CI 0.36 to 1.24; right upper limb RR 1.09; 95% CI 0.51 to 2.29), and alternative mouse with arm support and conventional mouse with arm support (neck/shoulder RR 0.58; 95% CI 0.30 to 1.12; right upper limb RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.36 to 2.36).There was low-quality evidence that using an alternative mouse with arm support compared to conventional mouse with arm support reduced neck/shoulder discomfort (SMD -0.39; 95% CI -0.67 to -0.10). There was low- to very low-quality evidence that other interventions were not effective in reducing work-related upper limb and neck MSDs in adults. We found moderate-quality evidence to suggest that the use of arm support with alternative mouse may reduce the incidence of neck/shoulder MSDs, but not right upper limb MSDs. Moreover, we found moderate-quality evidence to suggest that the incidence of neck/shoulder and right upper limb MSDs is not reduced when comparing alternative and conventional mouse with and without arm support. However, given there were multiple comparisons made involving a number of interventions and outcomes, high-quality evidence is needed to determine the effectiveness of these interventions clearly. While we found very-low- to low-quality evidence to suggest that other ergonomic interventions do not prevent work-related MSDs of the upper limb and neck, this was limited by the paucity and heterogeneity of available studies. This review highlights the need for high-quality RCTs examining the prevention of MSDs of the upper limb and neck.
Article
First-line therapy for spondyloarthritis (SpA) has not yet altered in the wake of new classification criteria; NSAIDs and physical therapy are recommended. Anti-TNF agents can be used when NSAIDs fail, but their efficacy has potentially been limited in previous trials by inclusion criteria requiring the presence of established, active disease. Now, not only patients with axial SpA (axSpA) with radiographic signs of sacroiliitis (that is, with ankylosing spondylitis), but also patients in whom structural damage is not-yet-visible radiographically (non-radiographic axSpA) can be included in trials of therapy for axSpA. TNF blockers, it seems already, are at least similarly effective in patients with non-radiographic axSpA as in those with established AS. Short symptom duration and a positive C-reactive protein test at baseline are currently the best predictors for a good response to TNF-blocking agents. Biologic agents besides anti-TNF therapies have so far failed in the treatment of axSpA. New bone formation seems currently to be best prevented by NSAIDs, not by TNF blockers. Whether earlier effective treatment of bony inflammation with anti-TNF therapy will be able to prevent ossification at a later stage has yet to be determined. New classification criteria for peripheral SpA will also allow treatment trials to be conducted more systematically than has previously been possible in this subgroup of patients.
Article
Spondyloarthritis is a group of several related but phenotypically distinct disorders: psoriatic arthritis, arthritis related to inflammatory bowel disease, reactive arthritis, a subgroup of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis (the prototypic and best studied subtype). The past decade yielded major advances in the recognition of spondyloarthritis as an entity, the classification of the disease, and understanding of the genetic and pathophysiological mechanisms of disease-related inflammation and tissue damage. In parallel, new clinical and imaging outcomes have allowed the assessment of various therapeutic modalities. Blockers of tumour necrosis factor are a major therapeutic advance, but the exact roles of physiotherapy, and treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other biological treatments are unknown. The major challenges with direct relevance for clinical practice for the next decade are the development of techniques for early diagnosis, therapeutic modulation of structural damage, and, ultimately, induction of long-term, drug-free remission.
Article
Neck pain is becoming increasingly common throughout the world. It has a considerable impact on individuals and their families, communities, health-care systems, and businesses. There is substantial heterogeneity between neck pain epidemiological studies, which makes it difficult to compare or pool data from different studies. The estimated 1 year incidence of neck pain from available studies ranges between 10.4% and 21.3% with a higher incidence noted in office and computer workers. While some studies report that between 33% and 65% of people have recovered from an episode of neck pain at 1 year, most cases run an episodic course over a person's lifetime and, thus, relapses are common. The overall prevalence of neck pain in the general population ranges between 0.4% and 86.8% (mean: 23.1%); point prevalence ranges from 0.4% to 41.5% (mean: 14.4%); and 1 year prevalence ranges from 4.8% to 79.5% (mean: 25.8%). Prevalence is generally higher in women, higher in high-income countries compared with low- and middle-income countries and higher in urban areas compared with rural areas. Many environmental and personal factors influence the onset and course of neck pain. Most studies indicate a higher incidence of neck pain among women and an increased risk of developing neck pain until the 35-49-year age group, after which the risk begins to decline. The Global Burden of Disease 2005 Study is currently making estimates of the global burden of neck pain in relation to impairment and activity limitation, and results will be available in 2011.
Article
An association between progression of cervical disc degeneration and that of lumbar disc degeneration has been considered to exist. To date, however, this association has not yet been adequately studied. Age-related changes in the cervical intervertebral discs were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with lumbar disc herniation, and compared with the MRI findings of healthy volunteers without lower back pain. The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the prevalence of asymptomatic cervical disc degeneration is higher in patients with lumbar disc herniation than in healthy volunteers. The study was conducted on 51 patients who were diagnosed as having lumbar disc herniation and underwent cervical spine MRI. The patients consisted of 34 males and 17 females ranging in age from 21-83 years (mean 46.9 ± 14.5 years) at the time of the study. The control group was composed of 113 healthy volunteers (70 males and 43 females) aged 24-77 years (mean 48.9 ± 14.7 years), without neck pain or low back pain. The percentage of subjects with degenerative changes in the cervical discs was 98.0% in the lumbar disc herniation group and 88.5% in the control group (p = 0.034). The presence of lumbar disc herniation was associated significantly with decrease in signal intensity of intervertebral disc and posterior disc protrusion in the cervical spine. None of the MRI findings was significantly associated with the gender, smoking, sports activities, or BMI. As compared to healthy volunteers, patients with lumbar disc herniation showed a higher prevalence of decrease in signal intensity of intervertebral disc and posterior disc protrusion on MRI of the cervical spine. The result of this study suggests that disc degeneration appears to be a systemic phenomenon.
Article
There is a paucity of data available for the moment arms of the muscles of the human neck. The objective of the present study was to measure the moment arms of the major cervical spine muscles in vitro. Experiments were performed on five fresh-frozen human head-neck specimens using a custom-designed robotic spine testing apparatus. The testing apparatus replicated flexion-extension, lateral bending and axial rotation of each individual intervertebral joint in the cervical spine while all other joints were kept immobile. The tendon excursion method was used to measure the moment arms of 30 muscle sub-regions involving 13 major muscles of the neck about all three axes of rotation of each joint for the neutral position of the cervical spine. Significant differences in the moment arm were observed across sub-regions of individual muscles and across the intervertebral joints spanned by each muscle (p<0.05). Overall, muscle moment arms were larger in flexion-extension and lateral bending than in axial rotation, and most muscles had prominent moment arms in at least 2 out of the 3 joint motions investigated. This study emphasizes the importance of detailed representation of a muscle's architecture in prediction of its torque capacity about the individual joints of the cervical spine. The dataset produced may be useful in developing and validating computational models of the human neck.
Article
Poor adherence to treatment is commonplace and may adversely affect outcomes, efficiency and healthcare cost. The aim of this systematic review was to identify strategies to improve adherence with musculoskeletal outpatient treatment. Five suitable studies were identified which provided moderate evidence that a motivational cognitive-behavioural (CB) programme can improve attendance at exercise-based clinic sessions. There was conflicting evidence that adherence interventions increase short-term adherence with exercise. There was strong evidence that adherence strategies are not effective at improving long-term adherence with home exercise. Due to the multi-dimensional nature of non-adherence, the strategies to improve adherence with physiotherapy treatment are likely to be broad in spectrum. Combined interventions may be effective at promoting adherence with clinic appointments and exercise, though further research would be required to confirm this. Further research to increase basic understanding of the factors, which act as a barrier to adherence, could facilitate development of strategies to overcome non-adherence.
Article
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study on degeneration of the thoracic spine in asymptomatic subjects. To investigate the incidence of degenerative MRI findings of the thoracic spine in asymptomatic subjects and to identify factors related to the degeneration of the thoracic discs. Studies on age-related degenerative changes of the thoracic spine are scarce. Ninety-four asymptomatic Japanese volunteers (48 men and 46 women, mean age of 48.0 +/- 13.4 years) underwent MRI of the thoracic and cervical spine and filled the questionnaire regarding life styles. The items evaluated on MRI using a numerical grading system were (1) decrease in the signal intensity of the intervertebral discs (DSI), (2) posterior disc protrusion (PDP), (3) anterior compression of the dural sac (ACD), and (4) disc space narrowing. Association between each degenerative MRI finding and several factors, including age, sex, smoking, sports, body mass index, and degeneration of cervical spine was investigated. Forty-four (46.8%) patients demonstrated positive degenerative MRI findings at 1 or more thoracic intervertebral levels. The percentage of the subjects with positive MRI findings was 37.2% in DSI, 30.9% in PDP, 29.8% in ACD, and 4.3% in disc space narrowing. The percentages of all MRI findings increased with aging. In 85 (90.4%) patients, degenerative MRI findings were positive in the cervical spine. DSI was significantly associated with age (odds ratio, 11.21, 95% confidence interval, 2.70-46.5), PDP with age (3.44, 1.02-16.61), smoking (4.94, 1.55-15.71) and presence of PDP in the cervical spine (4.25, 1.01-17.92), and ACD was associated with smoking (3.99, 1.28-12.44). Degenerative changes in the thoracic spine on MRI was observed in approximately half of the asymptomatic subjects, whereas their incidences were less frequent than those in the cervical spine. Factors significantly associated with degenerative changes in the thoracic spine included age, smoking, and degeneration in the cervical spine.
Article
This was a cross-sectional correlation study to explore the relationships between sagittal postures of thoracic and cervical spine, presence of neck pain, neck pain severity and disability. Moreover, the reliability of the photographic measurement of the sagittal posture of thoracic and cervical spine was investigated. Forty-five subjects without neck pain and forty-seven subjects with neck pain were recruited. Using a photographic method, the sagittal thoracic and cervical postures were measured by the upper thoracic and the craniovertebral (CV) angles respectively. The Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) and Chinese version Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) were used to assess neck pain severity and disability. The upper thoracic angle was positively correlated (r(s) = 0.63, p < 0.01) while the CV angle was negatively correlated (r(s) = -0.56, p < 0.01) with the presence of neck pain. The upper thoracic angle was negatively correlated with the CV angles (r(s) = -0.62, p < 0.01) in subjects with neck pain. Similar to the CV angle, the upper thoracic angle was moderately correlated with the neck pain severity (r(s) = 0.43, p = 0.01) and disability (r(s) = 0.44, p = 0.02). The upper thoracic angle (OR = 1.37, p < 0.01) was a good predictor for presence of neck pain even better than that of the CV angle (OR = 0.86, p = 0.04).
Article
Neck pain is common, disabling, and costly. The effectiveness of patient education strategies is unclear. To assess whether patient education strategies are of benefit for pain, function/disability, global perceived effect, quality of life, or patient satisfaction, in adults with neck pain with or without radiculopathy. Cochrane systematic review. Computerized bibliographic databases were searched from their start to May 31, 2008. Eligible studies were randomized trials investigating the effectiveness of patient education strategies for neck pain. Paired independent reviewers carried out study selection, data abstraction, and methodological quality assessment. Relative risk and standardized mean differences were calculated. Because of differences in intervention type or disorder, no studies were considered appropriate to pool. Of the 10 selected trials, two (20%) were rated as of high quality. Patient education was assessed as follows: 1) eight trials of advice focusing on activation compared with no treatment, or to various active treatments, including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, showed either inferiority or no difference for pain, spanning a full range of follow-up periods, acuity and disorder types. When compared with rest, two trials that assessed acute whiplash-associated disorder showed moderate evidence of no difference for advice focusing on activation; 2) two trials studying advice focusing on pain and stress coping skills found moderate evidence of no benefit for chronic neck pain at intermediate- to long-term follow-up; and 3) one trial compared the effects of neck school to no treatment, yielding limited evidence of no benefit for pain, at intermediate-term follow-up in mixed acute/subacute/chronic neck pain. This review has not shown effectiveness for educational interventions for neck pain of various acuity stages and disorder types and at various follow-up periods, including advice to activate, advice on stress coping skills, and neck school. In future research, further attention to methodological quality is necessary. Studies of multimodal interventions should consider study designs, such as factorial designs, that permit discrimination of specific educational components.
Article
To compare standing head posture measurements between patients with nontraumatic neck pain (NP) and pain-free individuals. Single-blind (assessor) cross-sectional study. Hospital and general community. Consecutive patients (n=40) with chronic nontraumatic NP and age- and sex-matched pain-free participants (n=40). Not applicable. Three angular measurements: the angle between C7, the tragus of the ear, and the horizontal; the angle between the tragus of the ear, the eye, and the horizontal; and the angle between the inferior margins of the right and the left ear and the horizontal were calculated through the digitization of video images. NP patients were found to have a significantly smaller angle between C7, the tragus, and the horizontal, resulting in a more forward head posture than pain-free participants (NP, mean +/- SD, 45.4 degrees +/-6.8 degrees ; pain-free, mean +/- SD, 48.6 degrees +/-7.1 degrees ; P<.05; confidence interval [CI] for the difference between groups, 0.9 degrees -6.3 degrees ). Dividing the population according to age into younger (</=50y) and older (>50y) revealed an interaction, with a statistically significant difference in head posture for younger participants with NP compared with younger pain-free participants (NP, mean +/- SD, 46.1 degrees +/-6.7 degrees ; pain-free, mean +/- SD, 51.8 degrees +/-5.9 degrees ; P<.01; CI for the difference between groups, 1.8 degrees -9.7 degrees ) but no difference for the older group (NP, mean +/- SD, 44.8 degrees +/-7.1 degrees ; pain-free, mean +/- SD, 45.1 degrees +/-6.7 degrees ; P>.05; CI for the difference between groups, -4.9 degrees -4.2 degrees ). No other differences were found between patients and pain-free participants. Younger patients with chronic nontraumatic NP were shown to have a more forward head posture in standing than matched pain-free participants. However, the difference, although statistically significant, was perhaps too small to be clinically meaningful.
Article
Best evidence synthesis. To undertake a best evidence synthesis on course and prognosis of neck pain and its associated disorders in the general population. Knowing the course of neck pain guides expectations for recovery. Identifying prognostic factors assists in planning public policies, formulating interventions, and promoting lifestyle changes to decrease the burden of neck pain. The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and its Associated Disorders (Neck Pain Task Force) conducted a critical review of literature published between 1980 and 2006 to assemble the best evidence on neck pain. Findings from studies meeting criteria for scientific validity were abstracted into evidence tables and included in a best evidence synthesis. We found 226 articles on the course and prognostic factors in neck pain and its associated disorders. After critical review, 70 (31%) of these were accepted on scientific merit. Six studies related to course and 7 to prognostic factors in the general population. Between half and three quarters of persons in these populations with current neck pain will report neck pain again 1 to 5 years later. Younger age predicted better outcome. General exercise was unassociated with outcome, although regular bicycling predicted poor outcome in 1 study. Psychosocial factors, including psychologic health, coping patterns, and need to socialize, were the strongest prognostic factors. Several potential prognostic factors have not been well studied, including degenerative changes, genetic factors, and compensation policies. The Neck Pain Task Force undertook a best evidence synthesis to establish a baseline of the current best evidence on the course and prognosis for this symptom. General exercise was not prognostic of better outcome; however, several psychosocial factors were prognostic of outcome.
Article
Systematic review and best evidence synthesis. To describe the prevalence and incidence of neck pain and disability in workers; to identify risk factors for neck pain in workers; to propose an etiological diagram; and to make recommendations for future research. Previous reviews of the etiology of neck pain in workers relied on cross-sectional evidence. Recently published cohorts and randomized trials warrant a re-analysis of this body of research. We systematically searched Medline for literature published from 1980-2006. Retrieved articles were reviewed for relevance. Relevant articles were critically appraised. Articles judged to have adequate internal validity were included in our best evidence synthesis. One hundred and nine papers on the burden and determinants of neck pain in workers were scientifically admissible. The annual prevalence of neck pain varied from 27.1% in Norway to 47.8% in Québec, Canada. Each year, between 11% and 14.1% of workers were limited in their activities because of neck pain. Risk factors associated with neck pain in workers include age, previous musculoskeletal pain, high quantitative job demands, low social support at work, job insecurity, low physical capacity, poor computer workstation design and work posture, sedentary work position, repetitive work and precision work. We found preliminary evidence that gender, occupation, headaches, emotional problems, smoking, poor job satisfaction, awkward work postures, poor physical work environment, and workers' ethnicity may be associated with neck pain. There is evidence that interventions aimed at modifying workstations and worker posture are not effective in reducing the incidence of neck pain in workers. Neck disorders are a significant source of pain and activity limitations in workers. Most neck pain results from complex relationships between individual and workplace risk factors. No prevention strategies have been shown to reduce the incidence of neck pain in workers.
Article
Statistical guidelines and expert statements are now available to assist in the analysis and reporting of studies in some biomedical disciplines. We present here a more progressive resource for sample-based studies, meta-analyses, and case studies in sports medicine and exercise science. We offer forthright advice on the following controversial or novel issues: using precision of estimation for inferences about population effects in preference to null-hypothesis testing, which is inadequate for assessing clinical or practical importance; justifying sample size via acceptable precision or confidence for clinical decisions rather than via adequate power for statistical significance; showing SD rather than SEM, to better communicate the magnitude of differences in means and nonuniformity of error; avoiding purely nonparametric analyses, which cannot provide inferences about magnitude and are unnecessary; using regression statistics in validity studies, in preference to the impractical and biased limits of agreement; making greater use of qualitative methods to enrich sample-based quantitative projects; and seeking ethics approval for public access to the depersonalized raw data of a study, to address the need for more scrutiny of research and better meta-analyses. Advice on less contentious issues includes the following: using covariates in linear models to adjust for confounders, to account for individual differences, and to identify potential mechanisms of an effect; using log transformation to deal with nonuniformity of effects and error; identifying and deleting outliers; presenting descriptive, effect, and inferential statistics in appropriate formats; and contending with bias arising from problems with sampling, assignment, blinding, measurement error, and researchers' prejudices. This article should advance the field by stimulating debate, promoting innovative approaches, and serving as a useful checklist for authors, reviewers, and editors.
Article
This study combined ultrasonography of the Achilles tendon enthesis at different stages of spondylarthritis (SpA) with microanatomic studies of normal cadaveric entheses, with the aim of exploring the relationship between bone erosion and new bone formation in enthesitis. Thirty-seven patients with SpA and Achilles tendon enthesitis (20 with early SpA and 17 with chronic SpA) and 10 normal control subjects underwent ultrasound scanning. The presence of bone erosion and spur formation was recorded at 3 sites: the proximal and distal halves of the enthesis and the adjacent calcaneal superior tuberosity. Parallel histologic analysis was performed on cadaveric Achilles tendon entheses to determine whether regional variations in bone density and trabecular architecture in relation to fibrocartilage distribution are related to disease patterns. Bone erosion in patients with early SpA occurred at either the proximal insertion or the superior tuberosity (11 of 20 patients; P < 0.001 versus distal enthesis). Very small spurs, which were present almost exclusively at the distal enthesis, were evident in patients with early SpA and in normal control subjects. However, large spurs were evident distally only in patients with chronic SpA (9 of 17 patients, compared with none of 20 patients with early SpA; P < 0.0001). Histologic studies showed that aged normal individuals had small spurs at the corresponding location. The bone-to-marrow ratio was also significantly lower in the regions prone to erosions (P < 0.05). Bone erosion in association with Achilles tendon enthesitis in SpA is anatomically uncoupled from bone formation-the 2 processes are topographically and temporally distinct. We thus conclude that disease patterns in SpA are related to normal enthesis structure and biomechanics.
Article
The purposes of this study were to identify the incidence of postural abnormalities of the thoracic, cervical, and shoulder regions in two age groups of healthy subjects and to explore whether these abnormalities were associated with pain. Eighty-eight healthy subjects, aged 20 to 50 years, were asked to answer a pain questionnaire and to stand by a plumb line for postural assessment of forward head, rounded shoulders, and kyphosis. Subjects were divided into two age groups: a 20- to 35-year-old group (mean = 25, SD = 63) and a 36- to 50-year-old group (mean = 47, SD = 2.6). Interrater and intrarater reliability (Cohen's Kappa coefficients) for postural assessment were established at .611 and .825, respectively. Frequency counts revealed postural abnormalities were prevalent (forward head = 66%, kyphosis = 38%, right rounded shoulder = 73%, left rounded shoulder = 66%). No relationship was found between the severity of postural abnormality and the severity and frequency of pain. Subjects with more severe postural abnormalities, however, had a significantly increased incidence of pain, as determined by chi-square analysis (critical chi 2 = 6, df = 2, P less than .05). Subjects with kyphosis and rounded shoulders had an increased incidence of interscapular pain, and those with a forward-head posture had an increased incidence of cervical, interscapular, and headache pain.
Article
We performed magnetic resonance imaging on sixty-seven individuals who had never had low-back pain, sciatica, or neurogenic claudication. The scans were interpreted independently by three neuro-radiologists who had no knowledge about the presence or absence of clinical symptoms in the subjects. About one-third of the subjects were found to have a substantial abnormality. Of those who were less than sixty years old, 20 per cent had a herniated nucleus pulposus and one had spinal stenosis. In the group that was sixty years old or older, the findings were abnormal on about 57 per cent of the scans: 36 per cent of the subjects had a herniated nucleus pulposus and 21 per cent had spinal stenosis. There was degeneration or bulging of a disc at at least one lumbar level in 35 per cent of the subjects between twenty and thirty-nine years old and in all but one of the sixty to eighty-year-old subjects. In view of these findings in asymptomatic subjects, we concluded that abnormalities on magnetic resonance images must be strictly correlated with age and any clinical signs and symptoms before operative treatment is contemplated.
Article
Previous investigations with plain radiography, myelography, and computed tomography have shown that degenerative disease of the cervical spine frequently occurs in the absence of clinical symptoms. We studied the magnetic resonance-imaging scans of sixty-three volunteers who had no history of symptoms indicative of cervical disease. The scans were mixed randomly with thirty-seven scans of patients who had a symptomatic lesion of the cervical spine, and all of the scans were interpreted independently by three neuroradiologists. The scans were interpreted as demonstrating an abnormality in 19 per cent of the asymptomatic subjects: 14 per cent of those who were less than forty years old and 28 per cent of those who were older than forty. Of the subjects who were less than forty, 10 per cent had a herniated nucleus pulposus and 4 per cent had foraminal stenosis. Of the subjects who were older than forty, 5 per cent had a herniated nucleus pulposus; 3 per cent, bulging of the disc; and 20 per cent, foraminal stenosis. Narrowing of a disc space, degeneration of a disc, spurs, or compression of the cord were also recorded. The disc was degenerated or narrowed at one level or more in 25 per cent of the subjects who were less than forty years old and in almost 60 per cent of those who were older than forty. The prevalence of abnormal magnetic-resonance images of the cervical spine as related to age in asymptomatic individuals emphasizes the dangers of predicating operative decisions on diagnostic tests without precisely matching those findings with clinical signs and symptoms.
Article
The concept of the three-column cervical spine and load transmission through each column was experimentally tested. Material consisted of five cervical columns removed from cadavers. The experiment was conducted on an Instron load testing machine. Load was applied on superior articular surfaces of the axis vertebra and was recorded below from each column separately at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra. It was found that 36% of the total load applied on the top of the specimen is transmitted through the anterior column formed by bodies and intervertebral discs and 32% each through the two posterior cervical columns formed by the articular processes. The experiment very strongly supported the role of neural arch in transmission of vertebral compressive forces.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and severity of degenerative changes seen on lateral roentgenograms in 200 asymptomatic men and women in five age groups with an age range of 20-65 years and to determine the normal values of cervical lordosis and spinal canal sagittal diameters and their relationship to degenerative changes. It was found that by age 60-65, 95% of the men and 70% of the women had at least one degenerative change on their roentgenograms. A small sagittal diameter correlated with the presence of degenerative changes at the same disc level, and the strongest correlation was with the size of the posterior osteophytes at C5-6 (r = 0.52). Cervical lordosis measurements did not relate to degenerative changes except for subjects over age 50 with moderate or severe intervertebral narrowing. It is important to realize that although roentgenographic abnormalities represent structural changes in the spine, they do not necessarily cause symptoms.
Article
The age-dependent occurrence of cervical degenerative changes was studied using 0.1 T MRI in 89 asymptomatic volunteers aged 9 to 63 years. The degree of DD (disc darkening on T2*-weighted images), disc protrusions and prolapses, narrowing of disc spaces, dorsal osteophytes and spinal canal stenosis were assessed. Abnormalities were commoner in older subjects, 62% of being seen in those over 40 years old. In subjects aged less than 30 years there were virtually no abnormalities. DD was the most common abnormality, seen in 10% of discs; 57% DD was in subjects aged over 40. DD at the C5/6 level was the most common finding. No differences in abnormal findings between males and females was observed, nor any statistically significant association between DD and other abnormalities. Thus, DD begins later age in the cervical spine than in the lumbar region. Asymptomatic degenerative changes are common on MRI in the cervical spine after 30 years of age.
Article
Measurements from lateral cervical radiographs of randomly selected patients are compared with two proposed ideal models. To evaluate lordotic cervical curvatures from a large population base, to provide a geometric sagittal cervical spine model, and to test the validity of the model to predict measured angles and distances. Averages of ranges and normal values for cervical lordosis under conditions of static equilibrium are sought. Seven angles and three distances were taken from 400 randomly selected lateral cervical radiographs of patients at a private clinic. The radiographic measurements are compared with predicted values from our geometric sagittal cervical spine model and the Delmas ideal cervical model. Values were predicted successfully by the geometric model with an average error of 5% compared with the radiographic measurements. The range of lordosis, measured at the posterior of C2 and C7, was 16.5-66 degrees, with a mean of 34 degrees. The average height-to-length ratio for the cervical spine was 0.97. Predicted values from the geometric model were comparable with the measurements of the relative rotation angles at each vertebral interspace, absolute rotation angles from C2 to C7, and height-to-length ratios. A cervical lordosis of 34 degrees and a height-to-length ratio of 0.97 are suggested for clinical and theoretical outcomes.
Article
Case series. To describe the clinical outcomes of 15 patients with cervical radiculopathy treated with mechanical intermittent cervical traction. Effectiveness of traction for the treatment of cervical spinal syndromes is controversial and the outcome of this treatment has not been established in the literature. Fifteen patients (45.5 +/- 13 years) completed a course of treatment using mechanical intermittent cervical traction. Eleven patients presented at baseline with radicular symptoms of 12 weeks duration or less, and 4 patients had long-standing radicular symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks. Outcome was measured using the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS). Eight of the 15 cases (53%) in this series demonstrated complete pain resolution; these patients had symptom duration of 12 weeks and less. Seven of these 8 cases displayed a final NDI of 10% or less. Three out of 4 of the patients with symptom duration more [corrected] than 12 weeks showed no reduction in pain or increased pain rating, with minimal change in perceived disability of 12% or less. In this case series, patients with radicular symptoms lasting for 12 weeks and less demonstrated a reduction in pain and perceived disability. The NDI, when used in conjunction with the NPRS, provides a more comprehensive assessment of the patient with cervical radiculopathy, thus allowing the clinician to make a better judgment about the clinical effects of cervical traction.