Chronic Neck Pain and Exercise Interventions: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type Principle
Exercise therapy is widely used by physiotherapists for the management of chronic neck pain (CNP) and its efficacy has been well established in the literature. However, there is still paucity regarding the most effective exercise regimen and its components regarding frequency, intensity, time and type (FITT). Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the available evidence for CNP and determine the best exercise method according to the FITT format.
A meta-analysis of 16 RCTs revealed that exercise training combined with education has the most beneficial effect on reducing pain and improving function and quality of life in patients with CNP. Amongst different exercise principles, strength training - targetting the deep neck flexors - has a positive effect on all outcomes while its effect is expected to be enhanced when combined with endurance training - targeting the same muscle group. Moreover, the use of aerobic training might induce additional positive effects on quality of life. Exercise sessions should last 30-60 minutes and take place at least 3 times per week for a total of 6-12 weeks. > From: O’Riordan et al., Arch Phys Med Rehabil 95 (2014) 770-783. All rights reserved to the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
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