Investigating the Effects of Subclinical Neck Pain, Cervical Treatment, and Neck Muscle Fatigue on Wrist Joint Position Sense
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The purpose of this work was to evaluate the effects of neck pain, cervical treatment, and neck muscle fatigue on joint position sense of the wrist. 12 healthy participants and 12 participants with chronic subclinical neck pain were recruited. Participants took part in two sessions, separated by 48 hours. On the first day, participants preformed two wrist proprioception sessions using a haptic robotic device separated by an isometric cervical extensor fatigue protocol. On the second day participants performed an additional two proprioception sessions, this time separated either by a neck treatment (pain group) or 20 minutes of rest (control group). Each session consisted of 12 trials; 6 in wrist flexion and 6 in wrist extension. Matching error, error bias and variability were measured for each trial. Kinematic data for each trial was recorded from the robotic device and analyzed. Results showed significantly higher error scores for the pain group when compared to the control group at baseline (p=<0.05). Joint position error scores increased significantly in the control group after the fatigue protocol (p= <0.05). Error scores for the pain group decreased significantly after a single treatment session (p= <0.05). This study confirms that altered afferent input from the neck (due to pain and/or fatigue) can influence wrist joint position sense (JPS). Furthermore, the results suggest that a single treatment can improve wrist JPS accuracy.