Exercise programs to prevent a new episode of neck pain
Neck pain is one of the most common and disabling health problems. It is estimated that 1 out of 2 people will experience neck pain during lifetime.
As a result, there have been many studies looking at the efficacy of various treatments and prevention methods for neck pain. This systematic review aimed to determine the effectiveness of exercise-based treatments to prevent a new episode of neck pain.
From a pool of 12,725 identified studies, only 5 trials were selected via strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. These studies compared exercise programs to minimal or no intervention in the control group, however, it is worthwhile mentioning that 3 of the 5 studies had an ergonomic program in conjunction with the exercise program.
When a meta-analysis was performed, the results showed moderate-strength evidence that an exercise program significantly reduces the risk of a new episode of neck pain.
It was concluded that - although the review shows that exercise programs are effective in the prevention of a new episode of neck pain - a high-quality randomized controlled trial using a well-designed exercise program should be carried out to help guide the selection of the exercises.
An interesting point from the discussion section of the study was that the authors reported a lack of evidence for ergonomic intervention, based on the fact that the studies showed similar effects whether or not the ergonomic program was included.
> From: De Campos et al., J Physiother 64 (2018) 159-165. All rights reserved to Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.