Top 5 Fridays! 5 Cues for Cervical Retraction | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

Top 5 Fridays! 5 Cues for Cervical Retraction

The cervical retraction... it's one of the most effective and possibly frustrating exercises to teach a patient.

Here are 5 great cues to get your patient moving to end range and correctly.
caught in the act! or just some extra visual cues needed?
1) Pretend like an ugly guy is coming in to kiss you

  • Bonus! It works for both men and women regardless of sexual preference because no one wants to be kissed by an ugly guy! 
  • This often gets the natural reaction of a cervical retraction to end range.
2) The neck chop
  • have the patient place one of their hands just below the chin as they're sitting upright
  • instruct them to "move your chin backward along your hand as if it was sliding along a table"
  • "do not push down into the table or lift your head off of the table"
  • "move until your sternum comes up" - ensuring end range

3) strings
  • "imagine a string pulling up lightly on the back of your head" 
  • "another string is pulling your head straight back"
  • keep your eyes facing forward

4) For self generated overpressure
  • push "far" not "hard"
  • trying too hard causes other muscles to fire and creates excessive tension as well as a failure to move to end range
  • assist the motion with your hand, but do not force it
  • move as far as you can then lightly push more with your hand

after, you'd be surprised how many patients move their finger only!
5) For the chicken heads
  • place your thumb on your sternum as you're sitting upright
  • start your chin in front of your index finger
  • move away from your index finger (don't move the finger!!!!!)
  • don't "bash" through your finger as you are coming back to the start position
  • patients often protract and retract, but the protraction often reverses any benefit of the DP for cervical retraction! 

What are some cues you use for this effective and sometimes difficult to comprehend exercise?

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