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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5829048, 14 pages
Research Article

Cervical Spine Mechanism for Reproduction of the Biomechanical Behaviours of the Human Neck during Rotation-Traction Manipulation

1School of Mechatronical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, 5 South Zhongguncun Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100081, China
2Wangjing Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences, Beijing 100102, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yuancan Huang

Received 3 June 2017; Revised 20 July 2017; Accepted 7 August 2017; Published 12 November 2017

Academic Editor: Stefano Zaffagnini

Copyright © 2017 Yuancan Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rotation-traction (RT) manipulation is a commonly used physical therapy procedure in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) for cervical spondylosis. This procedure temporarily separates the C3 and C4 cervical vertebrae from each other when a physician applies a jerky action while the neck is voluntarily turned by the patient to a specific position as instructed by the physician, where the cervical vertebrae are twisted and locked. However, a high rate of cervical injury occurs due to inexperienced physician interns who lack sufficient training. Therefore, we developed a cervical spine mechanism that imitates the dynamic behaviours of the human neck during RT manipulation. First, in vivo and in vitro experiments were performed to acquire the biomechanical feature curves of the human neck during RT manipulation. Second, a mass-spring-damper system with an electromagnetic clutch was designed to emulate the entire dynamic response of the human neck. In this system, a spring is designed as rectilinear and nonlinear to capture the viscoelasticity of soft tissues, and an electromagnetic clutch is used to simulate the sudden disengagement of the cervical vertebrae. Test results show that the mechanism can exhibit the desired behaviour when RT manipulation is applied in the same manner as on humans.