Allen and Ferguson classification of subaxial cervical spine injuries

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 11 Aug 2021

Allen and Ferguson classification is used for research purposes to classify subaxial spine injuries and is based purely on the mechanism of injury and position of the neck during injury. This classification was proposed by Allen and Ferguson in 19823 and at the time of writing (July 2016) remains the most widely used system for describing subaxial cervical spine injury.


  • flexion and compression
  • vertical compression
  • flexion and distraction (facet joint dislocation)
  • extension and compression
  • extension and distraction
  • lateral flexion

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