Cervical spine instability can have several causes. The most common causes are ligament damage (e.g. transverse ligament, alar ligaments), bone or joint damage (e.g. fracture, dislocation) or weak muscles (e.g. deep flexors/extensors) (Magee 2007). It may be associated with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis as well as trauma, congenital deviation (e.g. down syndrome) (Hutting et al. 2013), long-term corticosteroid use or osteoporosis (Magee 2007).
Symptoms include neck pain, decreased mobility, torticollis, neurological symptoms (Hutting et al. 2013) (e.g. lip paresthesia), instability, a lump in the throat, severe headache (especially with movement), nausea or vomiting (Magee 2007).
Test for Cervical Spine Instability