Specific Therapeutic Exercise of the Neck Induces Immediate Local Hypoalgesia

Shaun O’Leary, Deborah Falla, Paul W. Hodges, Gwendolen Jull and Bill Vicenzino

This study compared the effect of 2 specific cervical flexor muscle exercise protocols on immediate pain relief in the cervical spine of people with chronic neck pain. In addition, the study evaluated whether these exercise protocols elicited any systemic effects by studying sympathetic nervous system (SNS) function and pain at a location distant from the cervical spine. Participants were randomly allocated into either a cranio-cervical flexion (CCF) coordination exercise group or a cervical flexion (CF) endurance exercise group. Measures of pain and SNS function were recorded immediately before and after a single session of the exercise interventions. The results are presented and discussed and the authors conclude that specific CCF therapeutic exercise is likely to provide immediate change in mechanical hyperalgesia local to the neck with translation into perceived pain relief on movement in patients with chronic neck pain.

The Journal of Pain, 2007, 8(11), 832-839

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