To What Degree Does Active Cervical Range of Motion Differ Between Patients With Neck Pain, Patients With Whiplash, and Those Without Neck Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Martijn S. Stenneberg*, Michiel Rood, Rob de Bie, Maarten A. Schmitt, Erik Cattrysse, Gwendolijne G. Scholten-Peeters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

47 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives: To quantify differences in active cervical range of motion (aCROM) between patients with neck pain and those without neck pain, in patients with whiplash-associated disorders (WADs) and nontraumatic neck pain, and in patients with acute complaints versus those with chronic complaints.

Data Sources: Seven bibliographic databases were searched from inception to April 2015. In addition, a manual search was performed.

Study Selection: Full articles on a numerical comparison of aCROM in patients with neck pain and asymptomatic control persons of similar ages were included. Two reviewers independently selected studies and assessed risk of bias.

Data Extraction: Two reviewers extracted the data. Pooled mean differences of aCROM were calculated using a random-effects model.

Data Synthesis: The search yielded 6261 hits; 27 articles (2366 participants, 13 low risk of bias) met the inclusion criteria. The neck pain group showed less aCROM in all movement directions compared with persons without neck pain. Mean differences ranged from -7.04 (95% CI, 9.70 degrees to 4.38 degrees) for right lateral bending (11 studies) to -89.59 degrees (95% CI, 131.67 degrees to 47.51 degrees) for total aCROM (4 studies). Patients with WADs had less aCROM than patients with nontraumatic neck pain. No conclusive differences in aCROM were found between patients with acute and patients with chronic complaints.

Conclusions: Patients with neck pain have a significantly decreased aCROM compared with persons without neck pain, and patients with WADs have less aCROM than those with nontraumatic neck pain. (C) 2016 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1407-1434
Number of pages28
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Neck pain
  • Range of motion
  • articular
  • Rehabilitation
  • Review
  • Whiplash injuries
  • 2000-2010 TASK-FORCE

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