The immediate effect of passive scapular elevation on symptoms with active neck rotation in patients with neck pain

Linda R. Van Dillen, Mary Kate McDonnell, Thomas M. Susco, Shirley A. Sahrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect of elevating the scapulae on symptoms during neck rotation. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of clinical records was conducted. One physical therapist examined 46 patients with neck pain (30 women, 16 men; mean age 45.89+14.39 y) using a standardized examination. Patients had a long-standing history of neck pain with a moderate level of symptoms and disability. Reports of symptoms were obtained in 2 scapulae position conditions: a patient-preferred scapulae position and a passively elevated scapulae position. RESULTS: In the patient-preferred positions, 29 (63%) of the 46 patients reported an increase in symptoms with neck rotation in at least one direction. In the scapulae elevated position, a significant percentage of patients reported a decrease in symptoms with neck rotation, right (82%) and left (76%) (both comparisons, P≤0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Passive elevation of the scapulae resulted in a decrease in symptoms with right and left neck rotation in the majority of patients. These findings are important because they indicate that neck symptoms can be immediately improved within the context of the examination. Such information potentially can be used to assist in directing intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-647
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007

Keywords

  • Cervical vertebrae
  • Neck pain
  • Physical examination
  • Pliability

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