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The effectiveness of a neck and shoulder stretching exercise program among office workers with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial

PainSci » bibliography » Tunwattanapong et al 2016
Tags: stretch, neck, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle, head/neck, spine

Two articles on PainSci cite Tunwattanapong 2016: 1. Quite a Stretch2. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks

PainSci commentary on Tunwattanapong 2016: ?This page is one of thousands in the 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 wherever possible.

A trial of stretching for neck pain, specifically “neck and around shoulder stretching exercises two times/day, five days/week during four weeks.” This study had 96 subjects and was well-controlled: stretching was compared to a control group of patients who received only an educational brochure on posture and ergonomics (which isn’t likely to do much, of course). Nevertheless, the control group did improve over three weeks, and while the stretching group improved more they did not improve much more — roughly a point on a 10-point pain scale, for instance. Nothing to write home about. On the bright side, subjects who stretched more did better.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts 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 determine the effectiveness of neck and shoulder stretching exercises for relief neck pain among office workers.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: An outpatient setting.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 96 subjects with moderate-to-severe neck pain (visual analogue score ⩾5/10) for ⩾3 months.

INTERVENTIONS: All participants received an informative brochure indicating the proper position and ergonomics to be applied during daily work. The treatment group received the additional instruction to perform neck and around shoulder stretching exercises two times/day, five days/week during four weeks.

MAIN OUTCOMES: Pain, neck functions, and quality of life were evaluated at baseline and week 4 using pain visual analogue scale, Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire, and Short Form-36, respectively.

RESULTS: Both groups had comparable baseline data. All outcomes were improved significantly from baseline. When compared between groups, the magnitude of improvement was significantly greater in the treatment group than in the control group (-1.4; 95% CI: -2.2, -0.7 for visual analogue scale; -4.8; 95% CI: -9.3, -0.4 for Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire; and 14.0; 95% CI: 7.1, 20.9 for physical dimension of the Short Form-36). Compared with the patients who performed exercises <3 times/week, those who exercised ⩾3 times/week yielded significantly greater improvement in neck function and physical dimension of quality of life scores (p = 0.005 and p = 0.018, respectively).

CONCLUSION: A regular stretching exercise program performed for four weeks can decrease neck and shoulder pain and improve neck function and quality of life for office workers who have chronic moderate-to-severe neck or shoulder pain.

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