Neural control of the semispinalis cervicis muscle and the influence of neck pain

  • Jochen Schomacher ((PhD) Student)
  • Deborah Falla (Promotor)
  • Jan Cabri (Jury)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The objective of this thesis was to investigate the activation of the deep cervical extensor, the semispinalis cervicis, in asymptomatic individuals and patients with neck pain. Together with the deep flexor muscles the deep cervical extensors contribute to support and stabilization of the cervical spine. Impaired activation of these muscles may contribute to the recurrence and maintenance of neck pain and consequently assessing and restoring the function of the deep muscles is considered to be important in the rehabilitation of patients with neck pain. Preliminary evidence for lower activation of the deep cervical extensors in patients with neck pain was shown in only one study which utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the activation of the deep muscles. This thesis directly examined the neural control of the semispinalis cervicis using ultrasound guided intramuscular electromyography (EMG) and compared the activation of the semispinalis cervicis in patients with chronic neck pain and in healthy controls. Finally, the possibility of emphasizing the activation of this muscle by specific exercise was evaluated.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJan Cabri (Jury) & Deborah Falla (Promotor)


  • electromyography
  • cervical spine
  • neck pain

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