Cervical Mobilization vs. Standard Physical Therapy for Chronic Neck Pain

2014-07-23 21:09:45 | BioPortfolio


Neck pain is a common problem in our society, accounting for 20% of all chiropractic visits. Physical therapy interventions for chronic neck pain have been chosen based on the patient's symptoms and examination findings. These interventions include superficial and deep heat, massage, traction, manual therapy, and exercise programs. There is little controlled research addressing the efficacy of these therapies. Although many of these interventions provide some patients with pain relief and increased function, studies often utilize multiple interventions on the same subject such as heat, ultrasound, cervical traction, range of motion exercises, making interpretation of the results difficult. Much of the literature to date has focused on studies of subjects suffering from acute neck pain. Many of these studies suggest that subjects report decreased pain, decreased disability and increased cervical spine active range of motion. There are no controlled studies comparing the effects of spinal mobilization and standard physical therapy on subjects with chronic neck pain. The object of this study is two fold: 1) to determine the score variability of two neck disability questionnaires )both baseline and change scores) to be used in sample size calculations, and 2) to establish the ability to recruit, treat and follow sufficient numbers of subjects needed for a full clinical trial. The ability to predict outcomes of neck pain treatment will lead to more appropriate therapies and an avoidance of unnecessary treatments.


Background and Purpose: Chronic neck pain is a common problem. Studies of physical therapy for neck pain often utilize multiple interventions on the same subject making interpretation of the results difficult. The objectives of this study were two fold, 1) to establish the ability to recruit and treat subjects needed for a clinical trial of mobilization vs. massage for neck pain and 2) to estimate the variability of the Neck Disability Index (NDI) in a defined population of patients with neck pain and determine sample size for a trial. Subjects and

Methods: Subjects were randomized to either sedative massage (SM) to the neck and upper back or joint mobilization to the cervical spine (JM). All subjects also received moist heat and a home exercise program. Outcomes tracked for establishing trial feasibility included the number of referrals, number of referrals meeting inclusion criteria, number of subjects declining to participate and reasons for their refusal, acceptance rate of randomization, number of dropouts, and reasons for dropout. Descriptive statistics and baseline data were analyzed with means and standard deviations when appropriate. Groups were compared in regard to demographic and clinical characteristics only. The Neck Disability Index scores were calculated for pre-treatment, post-treatment, and change scores within each group.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Neck Pain


Spinal mobilization, Massage, Neck exercises


Mayo Clinic Dept of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
United States




Mayo Clinic

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:09:45-0400

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