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Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland
Despite chronic neck pain being so common in the population, few randomized studies have evaluated exercise methods in treating the neck disorders. The aim of this review was to reassess the effectiveness of different exercise methods in relieving pain and improving disability in patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain. Ten randomized controlled or comparative high-quality trials were included in a more detailed analysis using patient-oriented primary outcome measures (e.g., patient’s rated pain and disability) as well as pressure pain threshold and functional outcomes (neck strength and range of motion). Findings revealed moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of both long-term dynamic as well as isometric resistance exercises of the neck and shoulder musculature for chronic or frequent neck disorders. Findings revealed no evidence supporting the long-term effectiveness of postural and proprioceptive exercises or other very low intensity exercises. Clinicians are encouraged to consider these findings and incorporate them into their practice when planning the treatment of patients with chronic neck disorders.