How to test neck flexor strength is a common question we get in regards to neck pain.
The neck flexor endurance test measures someone’s ability to maintain a chin tuck while performing an active head lift. It is usually tested as a “stage 2” test behind the more common craniocervical flexion test.
It measures the following muscles: longus capitis, longus coli, rectus capitis anterior and lateralis.
In all, a positive test is indicated if 1 of 4 criteria are not met. The criteria are the following:
The most common method of testing is having the patient lie supine on a table. You can watch the video below to learn how to perform this test.
The neck flexor endurance test has been shown to be reliable and valid. Therefore, it can be used in the clinic to test cervical flexor strength and endurance on patients.
However, the mean scores of the test vary between studies. Generally speaking, the test can be held longer in males and individuals without neck pain. The test performance is worse in patients with headaches, dizziness and neck pain. We discuss what we use as measure points in the video above.
With that said, the test is not established completely in research but is a great screen to use in the clinic.
The test is a non-instrumented cost-effective method to detect movement coordination impairments. The test can also be referred to as the head lift method, deep cervical flexor test or neck isometric test.
We recommend it as a quick test to utilize in the clinic to assist in helping neck pain patients.
Additionally, you can learn more about how we incorporate the neck flexor endurance test in our algorithm through our books and educational courses!