Background: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the application of the integrated neuromuscular inhibition technique (INIT) combined with therapeutic exercise (TE) can provide faster and greater improvement in maximum isometric strength and isometric endurance of the neck muscles in patients with chronic mechanical neck pain (CMNP).
Methods: In this 10-week, single-blind clinical trial, 40 participants (men and women) with CMNP were divided into two groups. The intervention group (IG) followed a TE program in combination with the INIT, while the control group (CG) followed the same TE program without the INIT technique. Changes in maximum isometric strength and isometric endurance of the neck muscles were evaluated before, during, and after the intervention, with follow-up measurements taken at 1, 3, and 6 months after the intervention. Analysis of variance with repeated measures was applied.
Results: Both groups showed a significant improvement in all dependent measures after the intervention (p < .05). These changes were maintained for both groups 6 months after the intervention. However, the IG showed a greater improvement in the maximum isometric strength of neck flexion and an improved craniocervical flexion test score compared with the CG.
Conclusion: The combination of TE and INIT had a positive effect on neck muscle strength and endurance in individuals suffering from CMNP as compared with TE alone.
Keywords: Chronic mechanical neck pain; Exercise; Integrated neuromuscular inhibition technique.
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