Range of the Motion (ROM) of the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Spine Along the Traditional Anatomical Planes

By PhD, MD Janis Savlovskis

This section demonstrates the evidence behind the choice of the specific value of rotatory motion for different parts of the spine in the traditional anatomical planes. The evidence comes from the in vivo studies of healthy young males.

The literature meta-analysis is presented in the form of graphs that were composed following the uniform logic:

An example of graph with comments

The range of motion implemented in the Anatomy Standard spine model in all traditional planes generally lies within limits between the weighted mean and upper double pooled standard deviation limit (2SD) derived from the in vivo studies. This range approximately corresponds to the part of the population with the average and above the spine's average flexibility, without exceeding the 95 percentile borderline.


ROM of the Cervical Part of the Spine



Flexion of the Cervical Spine

Range of motion of the cervical spine from the neutral to the maximum flexion
The lateral view of the neutral and fully flexed cervical spine (64° of C0-C7 flexion)
Scientific evidence for the range of flexion of cervical spine
Scientific evidence for 64° of cervical flexion based on in-vivo non-invasive studies.

Extension of the Cervical Spine

Range of motion of the cervical spine from the neutral to the maximum extension
The lateral view of the neutral and fully extended cervical spine (63° of C0-C7 extension)
Scientific evidence for the range of extension of cervical spine
Scientific evidence for 63° of cervical extension

Flexion + Extension of the Cervical Spine

Range of motion of the cervical spine in sagittal plane
Side-by-side lateral view of the cervical spine motion in sagittal plane – from the full extension to the full flexion (127° of C0-C7 motion)
Scientific evidence for the range of motion of cervical spine in the sagittal plane form maximum flexion to maximum extension
Scientific evidence for 127° of cervical flexion–extension motion range.

Lateral Bending of the Cervical Spine

Range of lateral bending motion of the cervical spine
Side-by-side anterior view of the cervical spine motion in the frontal plane – from the neutral spine to the right and to the left (C0-C7 one side lateral bending 49°). Note the remarkable axial rotation motioin coupled with the lateral bending of the cervical spine.
Scientific evidence for the range of lateral bending motion of cervical spine
Scientific evidence for the 49° of cervical lateral flexion motion range.

Axial Rotation of the Cervical Spine

Range of axial rotation motion of the cervical spine
Side-by-side anterior view of the cervical spine motion in the horizontal plane – from the neutral spine to the right and to the left (C0-C7 one side axial rotation 85°). Note the substantial lateral bending coupled with the axial rotation of the cervical spine.
Scientific evidence for the range of axial rotation of cervical spine
Scientific evidence for the 85° of cervical axial rotation range.

ROM of the Thoracic Part of the Spine



Flexion of the Thoracic Spine

Range of motion of thoracic spine from the neutral to the maximum flexion
Side-by-side lateral view of the thoracic spine motion in the sagittal plane – from the neutral spine to the full flexion by (26° for Th1–Th12 flexion).
Scientific evidence for the range of flexion of thoracic spine
Scientific evidence for the 26° of the thoracic flexion range.

Extension of the Thoracic Spine

Range of motion of the thoracic spine froom neutral to the maximum extension
Side-by-side lateral view of the neutral and fully extended thoracic spine (22° for Th1–Th12 extension).
Scientific evidence for the range of extension of thoracic spine
Scientific evidence for the 22° of the thoracic extension range.

Flexion – Extension ROM of the thoracic spine

Range of motion of thoracic spine in the sagittal plane, from flexion to extension
Side-by-side lateral view of the thoracic spine motion in the sagittal plane – from the neutral spine to the full flexion by (48° for Th1–Th12 flexion-extension range).
Scientific evidence for the range of motion of thoracic spine in the sagittal plane from flexion to extension
Scientific evidence for the 48° of the thoracic flexion-extension ROM.

Lateral Bending of the Thoracic Spine

Range of the lateral bending motion of the thoracic spine
Side-by-side view of the neutral thoracic spine and left / right lateral bending by 30°.
Scientific evidence for the range of lateral bending motion of thoracic spine
Scientific evidence for the 30° of lateral bending of the thoracic spine.

Axial Rotation of the Thoracic Spine

Range of axial rotation motion of the thoracic spine
Side-by-side view of the neutral thoracic spine and left / right axial rotation by 47°.
Scientific evidence for the range of axial rotation of thoracic spine
Scientific evidence for the 47° of axial rotation of the thoracic spine.

ROM of the Lumbar Part of the Spine



Flexion of the Lumbar Spine

Range of motion of lumbar spine from the neutral to the maximum flexion
The neutral spine and full flexion of the lumbar spine by 65°.
Scientific evidence for the range of flexion of lumbar spine
Scientific evidence for the flexion of lumbar spine for 65°.

Extension of the Lumbar Spine

Range of motion of lumbar spine from neutral to the maximum extension
The neutral spine and full extension of the lumbar spine by 31°.
Scientific evidence for the range of extension of lumbar spine
Scientific evidence for the extension of lumbar spine for 31°.

Flexion + Extension of the Lumbar Spine

Range of motion of the lumbar spine in the sagittal plane, from the flexion to extension
The ROM of lumbar spine from the full extension to the full flexion by 96°.
Scientific evidence for the range of motion of lumbar spine in the sagittal plane from maximum flexion to maximum extension
Scientific evidence for the flexion + extension range of lumbar spine by 96°.

Lateral bending of the Lumbar Spine

Range of lateral bending motion of the lumbar spine
Side-by-side frontal view of the lumbar spine in the neutral position and in the maximum lateral bending by 30° to the right and 30° to the left.
Scientific evidence for the range of lateral flexion of lumbar spine
Scientific evidence for the lateral bending of the lumbar spine by 30°.

Axial Rotation of the Lumbar Spine

Range of axial rotation motion of the lumbar spine
Side-by-side frontal view of the lumbar spine in the neutral position and in the maximum right and left rotation by 15.3°.
Scientific evidence for the range of axial rotation of lumbar spine
Scientific evidence for the axial rotation of the lumbar spine by 15.3°.

First published: 19/Aug/2020
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