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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
SJR: 0.121 SNIP: 0.228 CiteScore™: 0.17

ISSN Print: 0896-2960
ISSN Online: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.2017021233
pages 263-270

Normal Passive Range of Motion for Supine Cervical Extension in a Symptom-Free Population

James A. Dauber
School of Physical Therapy, Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Melissa A. Kahlig
Atrium Medical Center, Middletown, OH
Karlen M. Vinci
Marshall University, School of Physical Therapy, Huntington, WV
Cameron R. Yoho
Healthsouth Rehab Hospital, Huntington, WV


Background: The normal range of motion (ROM) for extension of the cervical spine in the supine position, which is sometimes used in manual therapy, has not been established. Objective: To establish normal ROM for cervical extension in the supine position, across the adult lifespan. Materials and Methods: Fifty adults (25 male, 25 female) were measured for cervical extension ROM in sitting and in supine. Ten subjects (5 male, 5 female) were measured in each 10 year age range from 20 to 69 years. Results: The overall mean for supine extension ROM was 82.55° (range, 46.00°–114.00°). A mean reduction in ROM of 18.93° was noted across lifespan, and a mean increase of ROM of 7.86° was noted in supine compared to sitting. No significant differences were noted based on gender or body mass index. Conclusion: Assessment in sitting may not adequately inform the clinician regarding true extension ROM, and may lead to false-positive findings on examination. Clinicians should expect to see reduced ROM in older patients but should not expect to see significant differences based on gender.

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