Background: Chronic computer-related neck pain is common among office workers. Studies have proposed neck strengthening exercise as a therapy to pain relieving and function improvement. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of different loading resistance trainings and we hypothesized that women with work-related neck pain could benefit more from progressive resistance training for pain and function recovery.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted and subjects characterized by monotonous jobs were recruited. One hundred and nine employed women with chronic neck pain were randomly allocated into three groups, namely, progressive resistance training (PRT), fixed resistance training (FRT), and control group (CG). In PRT and FRT, four exercises for neck muscles with an elastic rubber band were performed on regular basis for 6 weeks. The therapeutic effectiveness was then evaluated at pretreatment, 2, 4, and 6 weeks during training period, and 3-month posttreatment. Assessment tools included visual analog scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), pressure pain threshold (PPT), and maximal isometric neck strength.
Results: The outcomes were significantly better in PRT and FRT than those in CG at 6-week timepoint and 3-month follow-up (p = 0.000), in terms of VAS, NDI, PPT, and neck muscle strength. Besides, there were statistically significant decreases observed in VAS scores of PRT group compared with those in FRT at 4-, 6-week timepoints, and 3-month follow-up (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The neck resistance training was an effective method for pain relieving, mobility improving, pain threshold, and neck muscle strength enhancing in women with chronic computer-related neck pain. Thus, our study provided evidence that women with work-related neck pain might benefit more from PRT, which may have important implications for future clinical practice.
Trial registration: The study was qualified and registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry as ChiCTR-TRC-12002723.
Keywords: Chronic computer-related neck pain; Progressive; Resistance training; Women.