According to the researchers, “the objectives of this study were to investigate whether elbow joint position sense (JPS) accuracy differs between participants with a history of subclinical neck pain (SCNP) and those with no neck complaints and to determine whether adjusting dysfunctional cervical segments in the SCNP group improves their JPS accuracy.”
The study enrolled 25 people with SCNP and 18 control subjects. Elbow JPS was measured using an electrogoniometer. “Participants reproduced a previously presented angle of the elbow joint with their neck in 4 positions: neutral, flexion, rotation, and combined flexion/rotation.” Those with SCNP were significantly less likely to accurately reproduce the target angle.
Next, the participants then either received a cervical adjustment or had a 5-minute rest period, and were again asked to reproduce the target angle.
Those in the SCNP group performed better on the JPS accuracy after receiving the adjustment, compared to their pre-adjustments scores. However, those in the control group scored worse.
The study’s authors write: “These results suggest that asymptomatic people with a history of SCNP have reduced elbow JPS accuracy compared to those with no history of any neck complaints. Furthermore, the results suggest that adjusting dysfunctional cervical segments in people with SCNP can improve their upper limb JPS accuracy.”
JMPT – February 2011;34:99-97.