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Cervical Spine Ranges of Motion (ROM)

Joe Muscolino

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Ranges of motion (ROM) of the cervical (cervicocranial) spine.


Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino (

Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino (


The cervical spine can move in all three cardinal planes (sagittal, frontal, and transverse).


  • The average number of degrees of motion that the cervical (cervicocranial – head and neck) spine can move is:
    • Flexion  —  50 degrees
    • Extension  —  80 degrees
    • Right lateral flexion  — 45 degrees
    • Left lateral flexion  —  45 degrees
    • Right rotation  —  80 degrees
    • Left rotation  —  80 degrees
  • Of course these ROMs are for a healthy young adult and are often less as we age. But they are still the ideal.


Note: 45% of all cervicocranial rotation occurs at the atlanto-axial (C1-C2) joint!