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Document Type


Publication Date



Physical Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Ron Schenk


The prevalence of neck pain is estimated at 20-70% and represents the second leading musculoskeletal cause of disability in the United States. Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) is a system of musculoskeletal examination and treatment which involves an analysis of the patient’s response to end range repeated movements. The testing of end range repeated movements may determine a direction of motion that improves the person’s symptoms and/or movement and is referred to as a directional preference (DP). The deep neck flexor test (DNFT) assesses neuromuscular control of the cervical spine, which is often impaired in people with neck pain. A published case study of a person with neck pain found a relationship between directional preference and improved deep neck flexor strength. The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between DP and neuromuscular control, as measured with the DNFT, in patients referred for physical therapy at the Catholic Health System of Buffalo, NY.