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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2018 Sep 1;27(5):403-412.
doi: 10.1123/jsr.2017-0024. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

Neck and Scapula-Focused Exercise Training on Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Randomized Controlled Trial

Neck and Scapula-Focused Exercise Training on Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Taha Ibrahim Yildiz et al. J Sport Rehabil. .

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of additional 6-week scapular stabilization training in patients with nonspecific neck pain (NNP).

Materials and methods: A total of 30 patients with NNP were randomly allocated to the study. Fifteen participants in the intervention group received neck-focused exercise and scapular stabilization training, whereas 15 participants in the control group received neck-focused exercise training. All groups were evaluated at baseline and after 6 weeks of rehabilitation. The pain intensity on the neck was measured with the visual analog scale (VAS). The self-reported disability status was measured with the neck disability index (NDI). Three-dimensional scapular kinematics were recorded during dynamic shoulder elevation trials using an electromagnetic tracking device, and data were further analyzed at 30°, 60°, 90°, and 120° of humerothoracic elevations.

Results: Comparisons revealed that, regardless of the received treatment, after 6 weeks of training both groups showed significant improvements in VAS (P < .001) and NDI (P < .001) scores. Both VAS and NDI outcomes have a large effect size (r = .618 and r = .619, respectively). For scapular kinematics, there were no group differences, especially for scapular upward-downward rotation and anterior-posterior tilt (P > .05). However, in the intervention group, the scapula was more externally rotated at 120° humerothoracic elevation (P = .04).

Conclusion: Findings of this study showed that both manual therapy and active interventions, including neck-focused exercise and scapular stabilization training, are effective in decreasing pain and disability level in patients with NNP. More comprehensive studies with longer follow-up durations are needed to better understand the potential effects of scapular stabilization training in patients with NNP.

Keywords: 3-dimensional kinematics; rehabilitation; scapulothoracic joint; treatment.

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