Altered spinal kinematics and muscle recruitment pattern of the cervical and thoracic spine in people with chronic neck pain during functional task

Man Ha Tsang, Grace P.Y. Szeto, Raymond Y.W. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge on the spinal kinematics and muscle activation of the cervical and thoracic spine during functional task would add to our understanding of the performance and interplay of these spinal regions during dynamic condition. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of chronic neck pain on the three-dimensional kinematics and muscle recruitment pattern of the cervical and thoracic spine during an overhead reaching task involving a light weight transfer by the upper limb. Synchronized measurements of the three-dimensional spinal kinematics and electromyographic activities of cervical and thoracic spine were acquired in thirty individuals with chronic neck pain and thirty age- and gender-matched asymptomatic controls. Neck pain group showed a significantly decreased cervical velocity and acceleration while performing the task. They also displayed with a predominantly prolonged coactivation of cervical and thoracic muscles throughout the task cycle. The current findings highlighted the importance to examine differential kinematic variables of the spine which are associated with changes in the muscle recruitment in people with chronic neck pain. The results also provide an insight to the appropriate clinical intervention to promote the recovery of the functional disability commonly reported in patients with neck pain disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Cervical spine
  • Differential kinematics
  • Functional
  • Muscle recruitment
  • Thoracic spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology

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