Content » Vol 45, Issue 3

Original report

Physical dose of therapeutic exercises in institutional neck rehabilitation

Niko Wasenius, Teppo Karapalo , Tuulikki Sjögren , Mika Pekkonen , Esko Mälkiä
Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland: E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1118


Objective: To determine the intensity and volume of therapeutic exercises during a standard 13-day inpatient neck rehabilitation course in relation to overall physical activity in rehabilitation and everyday life.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: Subjects (n = 19; 16 women and 3 men; mean age 48. 6 years, standard deviation (SD) 6. 6) with chronic non-specific neck pain were recruited from two inpatient neck rehabilitation courses. Intensity and volume of therapeutic exercises and physical activity were measured in metabolic equivalents (METs) with an objective measurement device and all-time recall questionnaire. Maximum oxygen uptake was determined in METs (METc) by direct maximal cycle ergometer.
Results: Subjects’ mean METc was 7. 2 METs (SD 1. 4) or 25. 3 ml/kg/min (SD 4. 8). Intensity of all therapeutic exercises was 1. 9 METs or 27 %METc (SD 5. 1) and volume 7. 7 MET-hours/week. Intensity of specific neck and shoulder exercises was 2. 0 METs or 28 %METc (SD 5. 4) and volume 2. 5 MET-hours/week. In addition, subjects were more active in everyday life than in inpatient rehabilitation.
Conclusion: The therapeutic exercise dose failed to reach previously reported target values for pain relief. The dose of therapeutic exercises and confounding physical activity should be carefully controlled in pain rehabilitation programmes.

Lay Abstract


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