The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a multimodal treatment in the short and medium term for disability in nonspecific chronic neck pain. The design of this study is a single-blinded randomized controlled trial carried out in a university research laboratory. Forty-five patients between 18 and 65 yrs with nonspecific chronic neck pain were included in this study. Each patient was treated eight times over a 4-wk period. The sample was divided into three groups: control group, subjected to a protocol of manual therapy; experimental group 1, subjected to a protocol of manual therapy and therapeutic patient education; and experimental group 2, subjected to manual therapy, therapeutic patient education, and a therapeutic exercise protocol. Assessments were performed at baseline and at 4, 8, and 16 wks using the following measurements: the Neck Disability Index, the 11-item Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, the Neck Flexor Muscle Endurance Test, and the Visual Analog Fatigue Scale. The nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test for the Neck Disability Index showed statistically significant differences between baseline outcomes and all follow-up periods (P < 0.01). In the Kruskal-Wallis test, differences were found for the Visual Analog Fatigue Scale and the Neck Flexor Muscle Endurance Test in the follow-ups at 8 and 16 wks (P < 0.05). Analysis of variance for group × time interaction showed statistically significant changes (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, F = 3.613, P = 0.005; Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, F = 2.803, P = 0.022). Minimal detectable changes were obtained in both experimental groups for the 11-item Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia but not in the control group.
Differences between experimental groups and the control group were found in the short and medium term. A multimodal treatment is a good method for reducing disability in patients with nonspecific chronic neck pain in the short and medium term.