Use of low level of continuous heat and Ibuprofen as an adjunct to physical therapy improves pain relief, range of motion and the compliance for home exercise in patients with nonspecific neck pain: A randomized controlled trial

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017;30(4):889-896. doi: 10.3233/BMR-160577.


Background: It has been well documented at heat reduces pain and increases healing by increasing blood flow in tissue.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to see if the use of low level continuous heat (LLCH) and Ibuprofen used as a home therapy between physical therapy sessions at a clinic resulted in better therapy outcomes in people with chronic neck pain.

Methods: Ninety-two patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain were randomly divided into 4 groups; LLCH group, LLCH with Ibuprofen (IP) group, sham LLCH with sham IP group, and controls. All subjects underwent 45 minutes of conventional physical therapy twice a week for 2 weeks. the neck disability index (NDI), subjective pain, range of motion (ROM), strength of the neck, and home exercise compliance were measured.

Results: Both LLCH and IP significantly reduced pain and NDI score, and increased ROM (p< 0.01). Home exercise compliance in LLCH and LLCH with IP group was significantly higher than the placebo and control groups (p < 0.05).

Concusion: The use of LLCH alone and LLCH with IP as an adjunct to conventional physical therapy for chronic neck pain significantly improved pain attenuation and it causes greater compliance for home.

Keywords: Ibuprofen; Low level continues heat; compliance; exercise; pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Pain
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Management
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Ibuprofen