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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Posture affects motion coupling patterns of the upper cervical spine.

Measurements of motions of the cervical spine are used to help diagnose the problems of clinical instability due to degenerative changes and trauma. For a better interpretation of the three-dimensional motions of the upper cervical spine, knowledge of the effects of posture on these motions is necessary. Seven fresh human cadaveric C0-C3 spinal specimens were utilized. Each specimen was put in three distinct sagittal plane postures: full flexion, neutral, and full extension. At each posture, two load types were applied: left and right axial torques, and left and right lateral bending moments up to 1.5 Nm. The resulting three-dimensional relative motions of C0-C1 and C1- C2 were measured, with use of nonconstraining stereophotogrammetry, in the form of load-displacement curves. We found that the curves were nonlinear. The most dramatic change due to modification in posture was found in coupled sagittal plane rotation, which changed from extension at extended posture to flexion at flexed posture at both levels and in response to both load types. For the axial torque, the main axial rotation and coupled lateral bending changed little with posture. For the lateral bending moment, the main lateral bending rotation and coupled axial rotation decreased; the latter changed direction at C1- C2 as the spine was put into flexed posture. The motions for the right and left load applications generally were mirror images, except for the coupled sagittal plane rotations, which did not change with the direction of the load.[1]


  1. Posture affects motion coupling patterns of the upper cervical spine. Panjabi, M.M., Oda, T., Crisco, J.J., Dvorak, J., Grob, D. J. Orthop. Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
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