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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Ask 2009.

Neck strengthening and motor control exercises equally ineffective

updated
Tags: neck, biomechanics, exercise, head/neck, spine, etiology, pro, self-treatment, treatment

PainSci summary of Ask 2009?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★☆☆☆?2-star ratings are for studies with flaws, bias, and/or conflict of interest; published in lesser journals. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This small study compared strengthening/endurance exercises with coordination (motor control) exercises for patients with neck injuries. There’s no way of knowing from this evidence whether or not these exercises are helpful (other studies have, though), but it does pretty strongly suggest that neither one has any clear advantage over the other. This contradicts the popular ideas that either neck strength or coordination is particularly important in neck pain cases.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of exercise regimes with focus on either motor control training or endurance/strength training for patients with whiplash-associated disorders in subacute phase.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: An outpatient spine clinic in Norway.

PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-five subjects with a whiplash-associated disorder still having symptoms or disability six weeks after injury.

INTERVENTIONS: The participants received 6-10 sessions of physiotherapy for six weeks with focus on either motor control or endurance and strength of neck muscles.

MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcome measure was the Neck Disability Index. Secondary outcome measures were pain intensity, neck functioning and sick leave.

RESULTS: No statistical significant differences concerning primary and secondary outcome measures were demonstrated between the groups. Approximately half of the participants in both groups obtained a clinically important change (improvement) on perceived disability assessed by Neck Disability Index at six weeks and one-year follow-up. The changes within both groups were statistically significant at six weeks, but not at one-year follow-up. For most pain-related variables clinical significant improvement was demonstrated in both groups at six weeks, but for fewer participants at one year. There was also statistical significant improvement within groups in some of the physical performance tests at one-year follow-up.

CONCLUSION: The changes associated with motor control training and endurance/ strength training of neck muscles were similar for reduced disability, pain and for improving physical performance. With a low number of participants and no control group, however, we cannot be sure whether the improvements are due to interventions or other reasons.

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