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Richard C. Hallgren, Ph.D.

I am a professor at Michigan State University appointed in the departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.


Education
Ph.D.Electrical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1974
Ph.D.Biomedical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1974
M.S.Biomedical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1972
B.S.Electrical Engineering, Iowa State University, 1968


Research Synopsis
My research is focused upon investigating the effects of whiplash-type injuries upon the rectus capitis posterior (RCP) muscles.

Current Projects

I am developing a biomechanical model that characterizes the functional relationship between RCP muscles and structures of the upper cervical spine such as the atlas and the spinal dura. This model will help to extend our understanding of the impact that fatty infiltration (FI) of these muscles has upon the performance of daily activities.

Whiplash-type injuries that result in atrophy of RCPMi muscles
In spite of extensive research over a period of 20 years, FI of RCPMi muscles is the only pathology that has been shown to be consistently associated with patients who have chronic, post-traumatic head and neck pain resulting from whiplash-type injuries involving motor vehicle accidents. Since damage to a muscle is known to heal within 6 months following injury, muscle trauma has been dismissed as a cause of the FI.

Tearing of a MT junction is a painful injury that can result from the sudden and forceful lengthening of a muscle during an eccentric contraction such as occurs in a whiplash-type accident. When a tendon is torn, the muscle shortens and, if the tear is not repaired, irreversible FI occurs within the muscle. Tendon tears have never been considered as either the cause of FI or as a potential source of the chronic, post-traumatic head and neck pain that can result from whiplash-type injuries. The ability to rapidly identify and repair a torn tendon could significantly improve the quality of life of individuals who have sustained a vehicle related traumatic head injury and could decrease the financial burden currently placed upon the health care system for treatment of these individuals. Investigation of this new paradigm has the potential to unveil the currently unknown cause of post traumatic head and neck pain associated with some whiplash-type injuries.

I hypothesize that rear end motor vehicle accidents can result in levels of MT strain that can cause tearing of the MT junction. Forceful lengthening of RCPMi muscles is known to occur as the OA joint is hyper-flexed during the retraction phase of a rear end motor vehicle accident. Forceful lengthening of these muscles has the potential to tear the MT junction, resulting in FI that reduces the ability of these muscles to generate levels of force that are necessary for the performance of daily activities. Surgical repair of the tear at the MT junction would halt the progression of FI and might break the cycle of chronic head and neck pain.

Myodural Bridge
Anatomical dissections have shown that there is a functional connection between the RCP muscles and the spinal dura. This connective bridge has been observed on magnetic resonance images (MRI). It has been hypothesized that this connective bridge may be responsible for controlling dural tension. Irritation of the spinal dura is known to result in neck and head pain that is consistent with symptoms experienced by WAD patients. We hypothesize that FI of the RCP muscles will alter the functional relationship between these muscles and the spinal dura. This has the potential to stimulate nociceptive fibers, resulting in head and neck pain. The normal in vivo response of the spinal dura to flexion and extension of the head and neck is currently unknown.

Relevent Publications:

Hallgren RC, Pierce SJ, Sharma DB, Rowan JJ, 2017. Forward Head Posture Results in Increased Activation of Rectus Capitis Posterior Muscles. J Am Osteopath Assoc, 17(1):24-31. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.004.

Hallgren RC, 2016. Injury Threshold of Rectus Capitis Muscles at the Atlanto-Occipital Joint. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, pii: S0161-4754(16)30302-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.11.001. [Epub ahead of print].

Hallgren RC, Rowan JJ, Bai P, Pierce SJ, Shafer-Crane GA, Prokop LL, 2014. Activation of rectus capitis posterior major muscles during voluntary retraction of the head in asymptomatic subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 37(6):433-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.07.002.

Hallgren RC, 2014. Modeling length-tension properties of RCPm muscles during voluntary retraction of the head. Man Ther, 19(4):319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2014.03.007.

Hallgren RC, Prokop L, Rowan JJ, Pierce SJ, Angela LS, 2014. Electromyographic Activity of Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor Muscles Associated With Voluntary Retraction of the Head. The Spine Journal 14(1):104-12. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.06.011.

Hallgren RC, Cattrysse E, Zrull JM, 2011. In Vitro Characterization of the Anterior to Posterior Curvature of the Superior Facets of the Atlas as a Function of Age. The Spine Journal, 11(3):241-244.

Hallgren RC, Cattrysse E, Zrull JM, 2010. Functional Role of the Superior Articular Facets of the Atlas in the Enhancement of Craniovertebral Junction Stability. Proceedings of the ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference, Naples, FL.

Hallgren RC, Fernandez C.  Suboccipital Muscle Contribution to Tension-Type Headache.  Chapter 7 in Diagnosis and Management of Tension-Type and Cervicogenic Headache.  Jones and Bartlett, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 2008.

Hallgren RC, Andary MT, Wyman A, Rowen JJ, 2008.  A Standardized Protocol for Needle Placement in Suboccipital Muscles. Clinical Anatomy, 21(6):501-508.

Hallgren RC, Andary MT, 2008.  Under-Shooting of a Neutral Reference Position Following Cervical Motion in the Sagittal Plane.  J Manipulative and Physiol Ther, 31(7):547-552.

Hack GD, Hallgren RC, 2004. Chronic Headache Relief After Section of Suboccipital Muscle Dural Connections: A Case Report. Headache, 44(1):1-6.

Andary MT, Hallgren RC, Greenman PE, Rechtein JJ, 1998. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1998;77(6):545-549.

Hallgren RC, Hack GD, Lipton, JA, 1997.  Clinical Implications of a Cervical Myodural Bridge.  The AAO Journal, 7(4):30-34.

McPartland J, Brodeur RR, Hallgren RC, 1997. Chronic Neck Pain, Standing Balance, and Suboccipital Muscle Atrophy – A Pilot Study. JMPT, 20(1):24-29.

Hack GD, Koritze, RT, Robinson WL, Hallgren RC, Greenman PE, 1995.  Anatomical Relationship Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor Muscle and the Dura Mater.  Spine, 20(23):2484-2486.

Hallgren RC, Greenman PE, Rechtien JJ, 1994.  Atrophy of Suboccipital Muscles in Chronic Pain Patients: A Pilot Study. JAOA, 94(12):1032-1038.


Academic Instruction
I have developed an extensive family of interactive, online, competency-based educational modules that are designed to enable residency trainers to accomplish and validate training requirements, using measurable outcomes, to a variety of healthcare professionals. Utilizing state-of-the-art, computer visualization technology, this educational strategy capitalizes upon individual, multi-sensory learning strategies that have been shown to facilitate the learning process (Medical Education On-Line web site).

Instructional/Multimedia Publications:

Hallgren RC, 2006. OME-2 On Line: Basic Concepts of Osteopathic Medicine. College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2006. OME-2 On Line: Osteopathic Principles & Practice of the Pulmonary System. College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2006. OME-2 On Line: Osteopathic Principles & Practice of the Circulatory System<. College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2006. OME-2 On Line: Functional & Clinical Significance of the Pelvis.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Hallgren RC, 2004.  Visualization of Osteopathic Principles & Practice. Volume VI An Interactive Guide to the Pelvis.  Instructional CDROM.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2004.  OME-1 On Line: Functional &Clinical Significance of the Cervical Spine.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2004.  OME-1 On Line: Functional &Clinical Significance of the Lumbar Spine.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2004.  OME-1 On Line: Functional &Clinical Significance of the Rib Cage.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2004.  OME-1 On Line: Functional &Clinical Significance of the Thoracic Spine.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, 2004.  OME-1 On Line: Functional &Clinical Significance of the Pelvis.  College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Hallgren RC, Parkhurst PE, Monson CL, Crew NM, 2002. Implementation of an Interactive, Web-Based Tool for Learning Anatomical Landmarks.  Academic Medicine, 77:263-265.