Analysis of the upper cervical spine stiffness during axial rotation: A comparative study among patients with tension-type headache or migraine and asymptomatic subjects

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Many studies reported the implication of the cervical musculoskeletal system in patients with tension type headache and migraine. The objective of this study is to investigate the upper cervical spine stiffness features in axial rotation among headache patients in comparison with a healthy population.


48 subjects including 30 migraine patients with/without aura and 18 patients with tension-type headache, aged between 18 and 60 years (mean 36, SD 11 years) have been evaluated. Stiffness measurements were carried out for passive axial rotation using a torque meter device. The flexion-rotation test was used to emphasize assessment of the upper cervical spine.


Neither the stiffness nor the neutral zone varies between different populations studied. Passive range of motion in axial rotation is unilaterally reduced in symptomatic subjects (p = 0.001). Considering the elastic zone, right and left motion magnitude was significantly lower for clinical groups compared to the control group.


Stiffness seems not to be altered among tension type headache and migraine patients. However, patients seem prone to display a larger right-left asymmetry of axial rotation and a reduction in the motion range tolerance, emphasizing the likely link between the cervical discomfort and these pathologies. Any difference is observed in the elastic behavior of the upper cervical spine between the two primary headache populations. However, further investigations are needed to confirm these previous results taking various specific clinical characteristics into consideration.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles