Feasibility of a smartphone-based exercise program for office workers with neck pain: An individualized approach using a self-classification algorithm.

The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of a newly developed smartphone-based exercise program with an embedded self-classification algorithm for office workers with neck pain, by examining its effect on the pain intensity, functional disability, quality of life, fear-avoidance, and cervical range of motion (ROM). Participants were classified into one of four types through a self-classification algorithm implemented as a smartphone application, and conducted corresponding exercise programs for 10-12 min/day, three days/week, for eight weeks. The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Fear-Avoidance Belief Questionnaire (FABQ) and cervical ROM were administered at baseline and post-intervention. The VAS (P < 0.001) and NDI score (P < 0.001) indicated significant improvements in pain intensity and functional disability. Quality of life showed significant improvements in the physical functioning (P = 0.007), bodily pain (P = 0.018), general health (P = 0.022), vitality (P = 0.046), and physical component scores (P = 0.002) of SF-36. The FABQ, cervical ROM, and mental component score of SF-36 showed no significant improvements.

The smartphone-based exercise program with an embedded self-classification algorithm improves the pain intensity and perceived physical health of office workers with neck pain, although not enough to affect their mental and emotional states.

Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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