The purpose of this article is to report normal variation in the screw (helical) axis of rotation of the head during various types of natural tracking movements. Nine normal subjects and eighteen subjects with neck injury faced a grid of targets separated by 10-degree intervals, and were instructed to use a head pointer (laser) to track whatever target was lit. Various horizontal, vertical, and oblique target sequences were employed. The normal subjects exhibited several consistent trends in finite screw axis parameter variation: vertical movements have a laterally-directed axis whose midsagittal plane crossing position is a function of the head orientation (typical range C3-T1); oblique movements have a diagonally-directed axis and an even greater orientation-specific range (C1-T1); and horizontal movements have a vertical axis that is modified near horizontal orientation extremes and is asymmetrically influenced by upward and downward bias orientations. Subjects with neck injury were seen to exhibit a variety of abnormal screw axis patterns.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1993 Jul;18(9):1178-85. [PMID:8362323]

Author information: Winters JM, Peles JD, Osterbauer PJ, Derickson K, Deboer KF, Fuhr AW. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.