2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Although neck pain is a common musculoskeletal disorder, there is no consensus on suitable exercise methods for middle-aged and senior patients with chronic neck pain. Therefore, this study investigated the effectiveness of a 6-week shoulder-neck exercise intervention program on cervical muscle function improvement in patients aged 45 years or older with chronic neck pain.

AIM: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of progressive shoulder-neck exercise on cervical muscle functions of middle-aged and senior patients with chronic neck pain.

DESIGN: A randomized controlled single-blind trial.

SETTING: Rehabilitation department of a hospital.

POPULATION: A total of 72 subjects aged ≥45 years with chronic neck pain were randomly allocated to either an experimental group (N.=36; age 57.3±8.74 years) or a control group (N.=36; age 58.15±8.17 years).

METHODS: The control group received only traditional physiotherapy, whereas the experimental group participated in a 6-week shoulder-neck exercise program consisting of cranio-cervical flexion and progressive resistance exercises in addition to receiving traditional physiotherapy. The muscle functions of subjects in both groups were tested before the experiment and also after the intervention program. The pretest and posttest measured the cranio-cervical flexion test (CCFT) and the superficial cervical muscle strength.

RESULTS: After the intervention, the experimental group had a 56.48 point improvement in the performance index of the CCFT (P<0.001), a 1.71-kg improvement in superficial neck flexor strength (P<0.001), and a 2.52-kg improvement in superficial neck extensor strength (P<0.001), indicating that in 6-week intervention significantly influenced the improvement of cervical muscle functions.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed that the 6-week progressive shoulder-neck exercise program can effectively improve cervical muscle function in middle-aged and senior patients with chronic neck pain.

CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Progressive shoulder-neck exercise might provide positive effect on deep and superficial neck muscle strength in patients with chronic neck pain. Therefore, this study may serve as a reference for the clinical rehabilitation of patients with chronic neck pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Exercise
  • Muscle strength
  • Neck pain
  • Rehabilitation
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Age Factors
  • Neck Pain/therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Chronic Pain/therapy
  • Neck Muscles/physiopathology
  • Shoulder
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Muscle Strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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