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The cervico-ocular reflex is increased in people with nonspecific neck pain

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The cervico-ocular reflex is increased in people with nonspecific neck pain

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Background
Neck pain is a widespread complaint. People experiencing neck pain often present an altered timing in contraction of cervical muscles. This altered afferent information elicits the cervico-ocular reflex (COR), which stabilizes the eye in response to trunk-to-head movements. The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) elicited by the vestibulum is thought to be unaffected by afferent information from the cervical spine.

Objective
The aim of the study was to measure the COR and VOR in people with nonspecific neck pain.

Design
This study utilized a cross-sectional design in accordance with the STROBE statement.

Methods
An infrared eye-tracking device was used to record the COR and the VOR while the participant was sitting on a rotating chair in darkness. Eye velocity was calculated by taking the derivative of the horizontal eye position. Parametric statistics were performed.

Results
The mean COR gain in the control group (n=30) was 0.26 (SD=0.15) compared with 0.38 (SD=0.16) in the nonspecific neck pain group (n=37). Analyses of covariance were performed to analyze differences in COR and VOR gains, with age and sex as covariates. Analyses of covariance showed a significantly increased COR in participants with neck pain. The VOR between the control group, with a mean VOR of 0.67 (SD=0.17), and the nonspecific neck pain group, with a mean VOR of 0.66 (SD=0.22), was not significantly different.

Limitations
Measuring eye movements while the participant is sitting on a rotating chair in complete darkness is technically complicated.

Conclusions
This study suggests that people with nonspecific neck pain have an increased COR. The COR is an objective, nonvoluntary eye reflex and an unaltered VOR. This study shows that an increased COR is not restricted to patients with traumatic neck pain.

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OrganisatieHogeschool Rotterdam
LectoraatKenniscentrum Zorginnovatie
Gepubliceerd inPhysical Therapy Vol. 96 (2016), Uitgave: 8, Pagina's: 1190-1195
Datum2016-08-01
TypeArtikel
ISSN1538-6724
DOI10.2522/ptj.20150211
TaalEngels

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