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The Presence of Cervical Spine Stiffness in Patients Suffering From Non-Specific Neck Pain

pain treatment

When patients present with non-specific neck pain, most physiotherapists will start off by assessing spinal joint stiffness in order to treat this problem. This evaluation process has been widely used by many manual physiotherapists. However a relationship between spinal joint stiffness and non-specific neck pain has not yet been proven.

A clinical study was performed in order to determine if the level of spinal joint stiffness is different in patients suffering from non-specific neck pain and if the extent of stiffness is associated with disability or pain intensity.

As per the study, spinal joint stiffness was objectively measured at the C7 spinal joint level in twelve patients all presenting with non-specific neck pain. The stiffness, at C7, of these patients was compared to an asymptomatic control group matched by age and gender.


It was demonstrated that participants that presented with non-specific neck pain had a greater amount of stiffness at their C7 spinal joint compared to the asymptomatic control group. The study also showed that the magnitude of the stiffness in the patients with non-specific neck pain had no link to the level of disability or pain intensity.

In conclusion, the preliminary results of this study suggest a relationship between cervical spine stiffness & non-specific neck pain. Suffering from non-specific neck pain? Make sure your physiotherapist in Ottawa evaluates your cervical spine joint stiffness.


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