Epidemiologic reports indicate that over 5 million nonfatal accidents occur annually, with painful injuries being the most common type of injury [1]. The cervical facet joint and its capsule are a common source of pain in these injuries [2]. Biomechanical tolerances of the cervical spine in compression, cervical motion segments in tension, and isolated spinal ligaments have all been reported to vary with age [3, 4]. Although microstructural damage has been shown to occur in the facet capsular ligament well-before the gross failure of that tissue and also has been speculated to relate to painful damage in that ligament [5], there is currently no study investigating ligament damage during tensile loading as function of age.

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