Effectiveness of specific exercise for deep cervical muscles in nonspecific neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Dr Julia Treleaven info

Key Points

  1. Deep cervical exercises are effective for improving pain intensity in people with nonspecific neck pain (NSNP) but are not superior to other treatments for reducing pain intensity.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Multimodal treatment including exercise is recommended in clinical guidelines for non-specific neck pain (NSNP) (1). However, the precise type and dose of training has not been specifically stated. A recent review determined that exercises designed to improve deep cervical muscles is superior to other exercises on improving activation, endurance, and strength of these deep muscles (2). These exercises can also improve neck pain, but the effect of these exercises compared to various other types of exercises and other treatment has not been thoroughly explored (3).

This article was a systematic review of the literature to determine the effectiveness of specific exercises to activate or recruit the deep cervical muscles to decrease pain intensity in those with NSNP compared to other types of exercise, other interventions, or minimal treatment.

Multimodal treatment including exercise is recommended in clinical guidelines for non-specific neck pain.
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An important goal in rehabilitation is to prevent recurrence and improving neck physical function is likely important to achieve this goal.

METHODS

To be included in this review, studies were only considered if the deep cervical exercise was used in isolation and not associated with other treatment interventions. The comparison intervention could be any other types of interventions, for example, manual therapy,

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