BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Neck pain is one of the most serious health problems in the world. Almost half of the population will suffer from neck pain at some time, and neck pain is the fourth leading cause of years lived with disability. Nevertheless, it usually resolves on its own, but recurrence rates are high.
Several systematic reviews have examined interventions for preventing neck pain, but they are relatively old, include non-randomized studies, and/or include patients with neck pain. This review sought to analyze randomized, controlled trials looking at neck pain prevention in people without neck pain at baseline.
Studies were included in the review and meta-analysis if they were randomized, controlled trials involving people without neck pain. Interventions examined included any that aimed to prevent a future episode of neck pain. Five trials were deemed eligible.
The review found moderate quality evidence that exercise programs can reduce the risk of a new episode of neck pain by approximately half. This evidence was derived from two trials that included 500 participants.