Effect of laterality discrimination on joint position sense and cervical range of motion in patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized single-blind clinical trial

Somatosens Mot Res. 2019 Jun;36(2):136-143. doi: 10.1080/08990220.2019.1626706. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Purpose: The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of laterality discrimination training on neck joint position sense and cervical range of motion (ROM) in patients with chronic non-specific neck pain (NSCNP). Materials and methods: Forty-eight patients with NSCNP were randomly assigned to the neck group (NG) that observed neck images or the foot group (FG) that observed foot images. Response time, response accuracy, cervical ROM, and joint position error (JPE) were the main variables. The secondary outcome measures included psychosocial variables. Results: Differences between groups in the cervical ROM for flexion (p = .043) were obtained, being NG group the one which obtained greater values. NG showed an improvement in right rotation (p = .018) and a decrease in flexion was found in the FG (p = .039). In JPE, differences between groups were obtained in the left rotation (p = .021) and significant changes were found in the NG for flexion, extension, and left rotation movements (p < .05). Moderate associations were found between left and right accuracy regarding to post-intervention flexion and right rotation (r = 0.46, r = 0.41; p < .05) in NG. Conclusion: Improvements in cervical range of motion and joint position sense are obtained after the performance of the laterality discrimination task of images of the neck but not the feet. Visualization of images of the painful region presents moderate correlations with the accuracy and response time in the movements of flexion and right rotation.

Keywords: Laterality discrimination; chronic neck pain; joint position error; range of motion.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiology
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Neck Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome