Functional limitations and associated psychological factors in military personnel with chronic nonspecific neck pain with higher levels of kinesiophobia

Work. 2017;58(3):287-297. doi: 10.3233/WOR-172634.


Background: Neck pain is one of the largest health problems in the military sector.

Objective: To assess differences in the strength and endurance of the cervical muscles between military personnel with chronic nonspecific neck pain (CNSNP) with higher level of kinesiophobia (CNSNP-K) and individuals with lower levels of kinesiophobia (CNSNP-NK).

Methods: We used kinesiophobia as a classification method: (1) CNSNP-K and (2) CNSNP-NK. The variables measured were endurance and strength of cervical muscles; range of motion (ROM), disability, pain intensity and psychological factors.

Results: Eighty-three military personnel (26 CNSNP-K; 20 CNSNP-NK and 37 asymptomatic). Statistically significant differences in endurance and ROM were only found between the CNSNP-K group and the control group. In strength and disability differences were revealed between both symptomatic groups and the control group [CNSNP-K vs. control (flex-ext p < 0.001); CNSNP-NK vs. control (flex p = 0.003) and (ext p < 0.001)]. For psychological variables, the CNSNP-K group showed differences compared with the CNSNP-NK (pain catastrophizing, p = 0.007; anxiety and depression, p < 0.001) and with the asymptomatic group (pain catastrophizing, p = 0.008; anxiety and depression, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Military personnel with CNSNP-K have functional limitations and associated psychosocial factors compared with asymptomatic subjects, and showed greater associated psychological factors than CNSNP-NK group. Military personnel with CNSNP-NK only showed decreased strength with respect to those who were asymptomatic.

Keywords: Physical endurance; muscle strength; range of motion and psychosocial factors.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Catastrophic Illness / psychology*
  • Chronic Pain / complications
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Neck Pain / complications*
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric