Original Research

Comparative joint position error in patients with non-specific neck disorders and asymptomatic age-matched individuals

Jonathan Quartey, Markus Ernst, Ajediran Bello, Bertha Oppong-Yebaoah, Emmanuel Bonney, Kow Acquaah, Felix Asomaning, Margaret Foli, Sandra Asante, Astrid Schaemann, Christoph Bauer
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 75, No 1 | a568 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v75i1.568 | © 2019 Jonathan Quartey, Markus Ernst, Ajediran Bello, Bertha Oppong-Yeboah, Emmanuel Bonney, Kow Acquaah, Felix Asomaning, Margaret Foli, Sandra Asante, Astrid Schaemann, Christoph Bauer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2018 | Published: 27 June 2019

About the author(s)

Jonathan Quartey, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Markus Ernst, Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
Ajediran Bello, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Bertha Oppong-Yebaoah, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Emmanuel Bonney, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Kow Acquaah, Physiotherapy Department, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Felix Asomaning, Physiotherapy Department, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Margaret Foli, Physiotherapy Department, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Sandra Asante, Physiotherapy Department, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
Astrid Schaemann, Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
Christoph Bauer, Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland


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Abstract

Background: Neck pain is a common complaint worldwide and ranked seventh in 2010 as the cause of ‘years lived with disability’ in Ghana. Proprioceptive dysfunction, measured by joint position error (JPE) tests, indicates an association with neck pain frequency, dizziness and balance problems in patients.

Objectives: To examine proprioceptive deficits of the neck using a laser pointer attached to the head.

Methods: Twenty patients within the age group 21–60 years, with at least five points on the neck disability index (NDI), and 20 age- and sex-matched controls with less than five points on the NDI were recruited for this study. The JPE was determined wearing a headlight laser pointer directed towards a Cartesian coordinate system adjusted to x/y = 0/0, placed on a wall after returning from left and right rotation, flexion and extension. From starting in an upright sitting position, facing the Cartesian coordinate system, each participant performed five repetitions for each movement direction. The mean of five repetitions for each movement direction was calculated as absolute error (AE), constant error (CE) and variable error (VE).

Results: Control participants showed larger JPE values for nearly all AE, CE and VE. After repositioning from flexion controls showed an approximately 0.6 ° larger median JPE, and the opposite for extension, with median differences between 1 ° and 2 °.

Conclusion: The results of this study do not reveal any meaningful differences between patients with mild disabled neck movement compared with controls.

Clinical implications: Joint position error testing does not seem useful for patients with mild neck disability.


Keywords

joint position error; proprioceptive; neck disability; age-matched; neck disability index; sex-matched

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