OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate 2 distinctive sEMG recruitment and dynamic ROM patterns observed during cervical flexion and return to mid-line.
DESIGN: Single-subject design with independent measurement of dynamic ROM and sEMG.
SETTING: Applied clinical setting.
PARTICIPANTS: Two subjects with normal ROM and cervical muscles were studied.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: One subject was studied with sEMG. looking at the cervical paraspinals and sternocleidomastoid muscles; the other subject was studied with an active ROM device. Three cervical movements were studied: lower cervical flexion, atlantoaxial (upper) cervical flexion, and a combination upper/lower cervical flexion.
RESULTS: The active ROM device indicates larger movements (higher degrees of flexion) for the lower cervical flexion compared with upper flexion. The combined movement indicates a differential movement from 2 spinal segments. The sEMG recordings indicated differential recruitment patterns. The sternocleidomastoid recruits briskly during the flexion phase of the upper cervical flexion movement, whereas the cervical paraspinals recruit briskly during return to mid-line when the lower cervical flexion is used. The combined upper then lower cervical flexion movement recruits both sets of muscles.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the study indicate 2 distinct movement patterns associated with upper versus lower cervical flexion and 2 distinct sEMG recruitment patterns. The study suggests that these 2 distinct movements involve 2 distinct cervical segments and are associated with recruitment of different muscle groups. Applied clinical research on the cervical spine should use sEMG recordings to assess both the upper and lower flexion movements as the standard for the study of cervical flexion.
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