A comparison of three types of neck support in fibromyalgia patients

Arthritis Care Res. 1998 Oct;11(5):405-10. doi: 10.1002/art.1790110512.


Objective: To determine the effectiveness of 3 types of neck support for patients with fibromyalgia (FMS) and their preference for the type of support.

Methods: Thirty-five patients with FMS chose the order of application and used each type of neck support for a 2-week period, followed by a 2-week washout. The same schedule was repeated a second time. The neck supports included a Shape of Sleep pillow, two neck ruffs with one standard pillow, and a single standard pillow. All subjects received a physiotherapy treatment and educational program in the home. Outcome measures included visual analog scales (VAS) for neck pain and quality of sleep, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), and a neck and shoulder pain distribution diagram.

Results: Analysis using Friedman's 2-way analysis of variance revealed no significant differences in any outcome measure, although there was a trend towards improvement in the FIQ and VAS neck pain and quality of sleep scores for some patients. Most participants (62.9%) preferred the Shape of Sleep pillow, 20.0% preferred cervical ruffs with one standard pillow, and 17.1% preferred a single standard pillow.

Conclusions: The results of this study are inconclusive due to the small sample size. However, from a patient's perspective, neck support is an important part of a comprehensive physiotherapy program. Most participants preferred the more rigid support of a Shape of Sleep pillow. Further research into the efficacy of the use of neck support in people with FMS is warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Braces / standards*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology
  • Fibromyalgia / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Sleep