Influence of Posture on the Range of Axial Rotation and Coupled Lateral Flexion of the Thoracic Spine

Stephen J. Edmondston PhD, Mathew Aggerholm BPT, MManipTher, Suzanne Elfving BPT, MManipTher, Neil Flores BPT, MManipTher, Christopher Ng BPT, MManipTher, Richard Smith BPT, MManipTher and Kevin Netto PhD.

This study examines the influence of posture on the range of axial rotation of the thorax and the range and direction of the coupled lateral flexion.  The ranges of mid thoracic axial rotation and coupled lateral flexion were measured in 52 asymptomatic subjects (aged 18-43 years) using an optical motion analysis system. To examine the influence of posture on primary and coupled motion, axial rotation was initiated from a neutral sitting posture and from end-range thoracic flexion and extension.  The results showed that patterns of coupled motion varied between subjects, but an ipsilateral pattern was more common in the flexed posture, whereas a contralateral pattern was more common in the neutral and extended postures.  The authors conclude that the ranges and patterns of coupled motion of the thorax appear to be strongly influenced by the posture from which the movement is initiated. This has important implications in relation to the interpretation of clinical tests of thoracic motion and in consideration of mechanisms of development of thoracic pain disorders.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 30, Issue 3, March 2007, Pages 193-199

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