The Effect of Upper Cervical or Sacroiliac Manipulation on Hip Flexion and Range of Motion
Pollard, DC, MS, Ward, PhD. JMPT 1998; 21(9);611-616
Your going to adjust my neck and it will help my hip feel better? How often have you heard this question in your office? The following study although a few years old points to a positive correlation and gives a compelling hypothesis for the connection.
This study compared the effectiveness of an upper cervical manipulation and a manipulation of the SI joint for increasing hip range of motion in 52 subjects ages 18-34. Testing methods where performed using a hand held digital electrogonimometer. The patients performed a straight leg raise before and after the treatment. The three treatment groups included just cervical manipulation, just SI joint manipulation (side posture) and the third received a sham adjustment of pressure on the mastoid process. Range of motion was tested prior to manipulation, the patient received one treatment and then range of motion was re-tested.
Both spinal manipulation groups demonstrated increased flexion of the hip however only the upper cervical manipulation increased hip flexion range of motion significantly.
The potential mechanism discussed is that of the tonic neck reflex. Changes in the muscle spindle output of the suboccipital muscles may cause reflexive proprioceptive changes to centers that control posture. The muscles of the pelvic girdle are some of our primary posture stabilizers.