Efficacy of neck stabilization exercises for neck pain: A randomized controlled study
Yesim Dusunceli, Cihat Ozturk, Funda Atamaz, Simin Hepguler, Berrin Durmaz
Objective: To determine the efficacy of neck stabilization exercises in the management of neck pain.
Patients and methods: Sixty patients with neck pain were randomized to 3 groups, as follows: group 1 – physical therapy agents including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, continuous ultrasound and infra-red irradiation; group 2 – physical therapy agents + isometric and stretching exercises; and group 3 – physical therapy agents + neck stabilization exercises. The exercises were performed as a home training programme following a 3-week supervised group exercise. The patients were evaluated with a visual analogue scale, by intake of paracetamol, Neck Disability Index, Beck Depression Scale and range of motion in the 3 planes at baseline and at months 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12.
Results: Compared with baseline, all groups showed a significant decrease in visual analogue scale scores during the first 6 months. However, this improvement was maintained only in group 3 at 9 and 12 months, with a significant difference among the groups (p < 0.05). During the study, the improvement in disability was marked in group 3 with respect to Neck Disability Index, Beck Depression Scale and range of motion in the frontal plane (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the superiority of the neck stabilization exercises, with some advantages in the pain and disability outcomes, compared with isometric and stretching exercises in combination with physical therapy agents for the management of neck pain.