A randomized clinical trial comparing general exercise, McKenzie treatment and a control group in patients with neck pain

J Rehabil Med. 2002 Jul;34(4):183-90. doi: 10.1080/16501970213233.


Seventy-seven patients with neck pain in the primary health care were included in a prospective, randomized clinical trial and randomly assigned to general exercise, McKenzie treatment, or a control group. Seventy patients completed the treatment; response rate 93% at 12-month follow-up. All three groups showed significant improvement regarding the main outcomes, pain intensity and Neck Disability Index, even at 12-month follow-up, but there was no significant difference between the groups. In all, 79% reported that they were better or completely restored after treatment, although 51% reported constant/daily pain. In the McKenzie group compared with the control group, a tendency toward greater improvement was noted for pain intensity at 3 weeks and at 6-month follow-up, and for post-treatment Neck Disability Index. Significant improvement in Distress and Risk Assessment Method scores was shown in the McKenzie group only. The three groups had similar recurrence rates, although after 12 months the McKenzie group showed a tendency toward fewer visits for additional health care. The study did not provide a definite evidence of treatment efficacy in patients with neck pain, however, there was a tendency toward a better outcome with the two active alternatives compared with the control group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Neck Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome