Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2016 , Vol 62 , Num 2

Efficacy of deep neck flexor exercise for neck pain: a randomized controlled study

Amr Almaz Abdel-aziem 1 ,Amira Hussin Draz 2
1 Department of Biomechanics, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
2 Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2016.84565 Objectives: This study aims to investigate the efficacy of deep neck flexor exercises in the management of neck pain.

Patients and methods: Sixty patients with non-specific neck pain of at least six-week duration were randomized into one of three groups: group 1 - physical therapy agents including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, continuous ultrasound and infra-red irradiation; group 2 - physical therapy agents + isometric, stretching, and scapulothoracic exercises; and group 3 - physical therapy agents + deep neck flexor exercise. The patients were evaluated with a visual analog scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), and the range of motion in the three planes at baseline and after one month of treatment, and at three-month follow-up period.

Results: Compared to baseline, all groups showed a significant decrease in VAS scores at one month. However, this improvement was achieved only in group 3 at three months indicating a significant difference among the groups (p<0.05). During the study, the improvement in disability was significant in group 3, as assessed by the NDI and range of motion (p<0.05).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the superiority of the deep neck flexor exercise, which offers several advantages in pain, disability, and range of motion outcomes, compared to isometric, stretching, and scapulothoracic exercises in combination with physical therapy agents for the management of neck pain. Keywords : Neck muscle; neck pain; strengthening exercise; stretching exercise