physio exercises, cervical spine disorders, cervical spine management, neck pain treatment

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Importance of physiotherapy management of altered cervical proprioception in cervical spine disorders

in All Physio Blogs, Clinical Physio
22 Jun 2015  |  2 Comments

Julia Treleaven Physiotherapist - physio exercises for cervical spine disordersJulia Treleaven PhD BPhty
Lecturer, Senior Researcher, Cervical Spine and Whiplash Research Unit, University of Queensland.

Assessment and treatment of altered cervical proprioception in neck pain patients should be as, if not more, important than lower limb proprioceptive retraining following an ankle or knee injury. The cervical spine is unique in that it has an abundance of muscle spindles, many times more per gram of muscle than other areas of the body and it also has unique connections to the visual and vestibular systems. Afferent information from the cervical receptors in people with cervical disorders can be altered via a number of mechanisms such as trauma, muscle fatigue, altered neuromotor control, pain and even stress.

Altered cervical afferent information can cause symptoms such as dizziness, unsteadiness and visual disturbances and can also lead to changes in the integration, timing and tuning of sensorimotor control and thus physical problems such as altered cervical joint position and movement sense, postural stability, gait and oculomotor control.

Management directed towards sensorimotor control disturbances should be considered a vital part of the multimodal physiotherapy approach in those with cervical disorders. It is suggested that management include both local treatment to the neck in combination with tailored exercises to improve any deficits in cervical position and movement control, oculomotor control, eye-head-body co-ordination, postural stability and gait control. This combined approach will address the local causes of altered cervical afferent input and consider the important links between the cervical, vestibular and ocular systems and any secondary adaptive changes.

Over the past years, research conducted at the Cervical Spine and Neck Research Unit at the Division of Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland has been investigating altered neuromotor and sensorimotor control associated with cervical disorders.

In August 2015 they will be conducting a course for physiotherapists on the management of cervical disorders and assessment; 'Management of cervical disorders: A research informed approach to therapeutic exercise'. Management of neuromotor and sensorimotor control disturbances will form part of this course which will cover the research informed approach to therapeutic exercise in the multimodal management of cervical disorders. 

See all upcoming CPD HERE! 

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