The Effect of Exercise-Induced Central Fatigue on Cervical Spine Joint Position Error, Strength, and Endurance.

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The Effect of Exercise-Induced Central Fatigue on Cervical Spine Joint Position Error, Strength, and Endurance.

Vintimilla A, Hooper T, James CR, et al.

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Fatigue is common in sports, impairing performance and increasing injury risk, yet little is known regarding fatigue and concussion. Impaired neck neuromuscular function may contribute to concussion at baseline, where central fatigue may further impair neck function resulting in increased concussion risk. These effects may be magnified in athletes with a history of concussion.

Purpose: To determine the effect of exercise induced central fatigue on neck joint position error, strength, and endurance in healthy subjects and those with a history of concussion. The investigators hypothesized that EICF would have a negative effect on all variables.

Study Design: Healthy subjects were examined using a single factor, within-subjects repeated measures design. Concussion history subjects were examined using a single-subject design.

Methods: Nineteen healthy subjects and five subjects with a history of concussion were recruited for the study. Cervical joint position error, muscle strength, and neck flexor endurance were tested before and after exercise induced fatigue.

Results: There was a significant increase in constant (p = 0.0027) and absolute joint position error (JPE) (p < 0.001); decrease in neck flexor endurance (p < 0.001); and decrease neck strength into cervical flexion (p = 0.01) in healthy subjects following fatigue. Among concussion history subjects, five demonstrated a significant increase in absolute and constant JPE (p < 0.05); four demonstrated a significant decrease in neck flexor endurance (p < 0.05); one in neck flexion muscle strength (p < 0.05); and three in neck extension and rotation muscle strength (p < 0.05) following fatigue.

Conclusions: Cervical neuromuscular function deteriorated following fatigue in healthy subjects. Resulting impairments may affect force alterations in cervical control, potentially increasing concussion risk. Concussion history subjects descriptively demonstrated similar results, however further research should examine formal comparisons involving subjects with and without concussion history.

Level of Evidence: 3b

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