Age-related differences to neck range of motion and muscle strength: potential risk factors to fall-related traumatic brain injuries

  • Tyler A. Wood
  • Jacob J. SosnoffEmail author
Original Article



Fall-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious health concern for adults over the age of 75 years, yet there is limited knowledge on possible modifiable risk factors. The neck is responsible for supporting the head during falls and age-related differences to the neck muscular could provide modifiable risk factors. However, there is limited empirical data pertaining to age-related differences in neck range of motion (ROM) and muscle strength in adults over the age of 75 years.


To understand the age-related differences in neck muscle ROM and strength, we quantified neck active and passive ROM and isometric strength in four directions in young (18–30 years), young-old (60–74 years) and old-old (75–89 years) groups.


57 participants were divided into groups based on age. Participants underwent testing of neck active and passive ROM and neck isometric strength in flexion, extension, and lateral flexion.


One-way ANOVAs revealed a significant effect of group on active and passive ROM in flexion, extension, and right and left lateral flexion (p < 0.001). Moreover, one-way ANOVAs revealed a significant group difference in only left lateral flexion strength (p < 0.030), yet there were large effect sizes observed between the young and old-old groups.


These findings suggest there are some age-related differences to the neck ROM and strength, which may be placing older adults at a greater risk for fall-related TBIs.


Future research should investigate the association between neck ROM and strength and head impact during falls in older adults.


Aging Neck Muscle strength Range of motion Traumatic brain injuries 


Funding information

The authors have no funding to disclose for this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Human rights and ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institutional Review Board (Protocol number: 19803) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology and Physical EducationNorthern Illinois UniversityDekalbUSA
  2. 2.Department of Kinesiology and Community HealthUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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