Objective: To summarize the key findings of a best-evidence synthesis on neck pain.
Methods: A systematic search, critical review, and best-evidence synthesis of the literature on the burden and determinants of neck pain, its assessment and intervention, and its course and prognostic factors.
Results: There were 552 studies judged to have adequate internal validity to form the basis of the best-evidence synthesis. Neck pain is common across populations and age groups. Most do not experience a complete resolution of symptoms, and its course of recovery is similar across populations. In the absence of trauma and "red flags," routine imaging is not needed. Treatments emphasizing activity and return to normal function are more beneficial than those without such a focus.
Conclusion: Neck pain is common, and its determinants and prognosis are multifactorial.