Because of the prevalence of chronic non-specific neck pain (CNSNP) internationally, more attention has been paid in recent years to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic exercise (TE) with this condition. The purpose of the study was to conduct a current review of RCTs concerning the effect of TE on pain and disability among people with CNSNP, perform a meta-analysis, and summarise current understanding.
All published randomized trials without any restriction regarding time of publication or language were considered for inclusion. Study subjects had to be symptomatic adults with only CNSNP. Two reviewers independently selected the studies, conducted the quality assessment, and extracted the results. Data were pooled in a meta-analysis using a random-effects model. Seven studies met inclusion criteria. TE proved to have medium significant short and intermediate term effects on pain and medium but not significant short and intermediate term effects on disability. Only one study investigated the effect of TE on pain and disability at follow-up longer than 6 months after intervention.
As has been found with other reviews, the results of this investigation supported the use of therapeutic exercise in the management of chronic non-specific neck pain. Particularly, a significant overall effect size was found supporting TE for its effect on pain in both the short and intermediate terms.
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