A recent 2017 study published in J Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy showed that patients who suffer from chronic neck pain often have a stiffness in their spines. The study that neck pain can affect how a patients walks and moves. The actual motions of the spine are affected.
In this study, patients walked on a treadmill at 3 different speeds in 2 groups. Group 1 had their heads in neutral position (control group). Group 2 had their heads turned at 30 degrees in rotation.
The the Group 2 showed shorter stride length compared to group 1. Moreover, the patients with neck pain showed smaller trunk rotations , regardless of the condition or speed. The difference in the amount of trunk rotation between groups became larger for the conditions of walking with the head rotated.
This study concluded that people with chronic neck pain walk with reduced trunk rotation, especially when challenged by walking with their head turned in rotation . Reduced rotation or stiffness of the trunk during gait may have long-term consequences on spinal health.
Source: People With Chronic Neck Pain Walk With a Stiffer Spine, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(4):268-277. Epub 3 Feb 2017