When Cervical Retractions Don?t Work?Modify!

Repeated cervical retractions (as described by Robin McKenzie) can provide significant symptomatic relief for some patients.

The Clinical Challenge: Some patients don?t respond as positively as expected to a repeated cervical retraction exercise routine?a few patients even feel that neck retraction exacerbates their symptoms!

The Possible Reason: In a small group of patients, there is a tendency towards increased superficial muscle activity (e.g. the sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) while performing the ?chin tucks?. This may increase loading on the cervical spine, cause pain and prevent full end range retraction.

The Solution: Have the patient gently feel the front of their neck and instruct them to keep their superficial muscles relaxed while SLOWLY retracting to END RANGE.

Another option includes having the patient perform the retractions in front of a mirror, or use and EMG biofeedback on the superficial muscles.

Submitted By:Submitted by: Alessandro Rosatelli, M.Phty., B.Sc.P.T.,Cred MDT

Posted on: April 04, 2002


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