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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2021 June;57(3):397-405

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06302-9

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Efficacy of a proprioceptive exercise program in patients with nonspecific neck pain: a randomized controlled trial

Gemma V. ESPÍ-LÓPEZ, Marta AGUILAR-RODRÍGUEZ, Manuel ZARZOSO, Pilar SERRA-AÑÓ, José M. MARTÍNEZ DE LA FUENTE, Marta INGLÉS , Elena MARQUES-SULE

Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Physiotherapy, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain



BACKGROUND: Nonspecific neck pain is associated with chronic pain, disability, reduced cervical mobility, postural control disorders and impaired proprioceptive control.
AIM: The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two therapeutic exercise programs (i.e. cervical proprioception and cervical mobility) in reducing pain and disability in individuals with nonspecific neck pain. We further aimed to compare the effectiveness of the two treatments in improving pressure pain threshold, cervical range of motion and head repositioning accuracy.
DESIGN: This study was designed as a randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: This study took place in a private rehabilitation clinic.
POPULATION: Forty-two participants diagnosed with nonspecific neck pain, aged 18-65 years, were randomized to a cervical mobility group (N.=22) or a proprioception group (N.=20).
METHODS: The cervical mobility group combined a passive treatment and active mobility exercises, whereas the Proprioception group combined a passive treatment and proprioceptive exercises. Pain intensity, disability, pressure pain threshold, range of motion, and head repositioning accuracy were assessed at baseline and after 10 sessions.
RESULTS: Pain intensity and disability significantly improved for both interventions (p<0.01), but such improvement was greater for pain intensity in the proprioception group than in the cervical mobility group (P<0.01). Pressure pain threshold, range of motion and head repositioning accuracy improved only in the proprioception group (P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: A program based on cervical proprioception exercises demonstrated to improve pain, disability, pressure pain threshold, range of motion and head repositioning accuracy in patients with nonspecific neck pain. However, a program based on cervical mobility exercises only showed to improve pain intensity and disability, while such improvement was not clinically relevant.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The proprioceptive exercise program may be considered as the treatment of choice in patients with nonspecific neck pain.


KEY WORDS: Rehabilitation; Proprioception; Pain; Disability Evaluation; Range of motion, articular

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