Question: What is the effectiveness of interventions that aim to prevent a new episode of neck pain?
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised, controlled trials.
Participants: People without neck pain at study entry.
Intervention: Any intervention aiming to prevent a future episode of neck pain.
Outcome measures: New episode of neck pain.
Results: Five trials including a total of 3852 individuals met the inclusion criteria. The pooled results from two randomised, controlled trials (500 participants) found moderate-quality evidence that exercise reduces the risk of a new episode of neck pain (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.86). One of the meta-analysed trials included some co-interventions with the exercise. There was low-quality evidence from three randomised, controlled trials (3352 participants) that ergonomic programs do not reduce the risk of a new neck pain episode (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.35).
Conclusion: This review found moderate-quality evidence supporting the effectiveness of an exercise program for reducing the risk of a new episode of neck pain. There is a need for high-quality randomised, controlled trials evaluating interventions to prevent new episodes of neck pain.
Registration: PROSPERO CRD42017055174. [de Campos TF, Maher CG, Steffens D, Fuller JT, Hancock MJ (2018) Exercise programs may be effective in preventing a new episode of neck pain: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy 64: 159-165].
Keywords: Meta-analysis; Neck pain; Prevention; Randomised controlled trial; Systematic review.
Copyright © 2018 Australian Physiotherapy Association. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.