Alterations in neck muscle performance and proprioception with fatique, altered posture and recurrent neck pain
Altered neuromuscular processing and motor output as both a risk and perpetuating factor for chronic neck pain is a relative new area of study. The cervical flexion relaxation response (FRR) is a reproducible and reliable marker of differences in neuromuscular function between neck pain patients and controls. Change in joint position sense (JPS) of upper limb joints has also been linked to chronic neck pain. Studies in this thesis sought to develop an experimental model in humans to investigate whether the FRR and JPS can be altered by fatigue and/or postural stress. Additionally a pilot study on the effect of three months of chiropractic treatment on the FRR was conducted. The studies revealed that muscular fatigue is a modulator of the FRR and may play a large role in spine stabilization. Minor postural alterations in the neck can impact joint position error at the elbow and 12 weeks of chiropractic care is a useful therapy to improve chronic and recurrent neck pain as well as improving the cervical FRR.