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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul




Effects of Cervical Spine Exercise Protocol on Neck Pain, Pericervical Muscle Endurance, and Range of Motion in Medical Students: A Prospective Study.


Anderson BG, Benzinger B, Chickness J, Hietanen C, Hill K, Lucas J-MP, Tuck J, Ghassibi M
Cureus. 2022 Jul; 14(7):e27160.
PMID: 36017270.


Introduction Neck pain is a common and debilitating ailment that places a significant burden on the healthcare system. No practical protocols have been published utilizing a portable, commercially available, and affordable device that significantly reduces acute and chronic neck pain. Methods Forty-six young adults with or without mild-to-moderate neck pain completed a six-week neck stretching and strengthening protocol with a portable cervical stretching and strengthening device. The primary outcome was changes to pericervical muscle endurance. Secondary outcomes were changes to cervical range of motion (ROM), neck length, circumference, and subjective pain, flexibility, and strength. Measurements were obtained on study days 0, 21, and 42. Results A significant increase in pericervical muscle endurance was demonstrated across all planes of cervical motion, ranging from 84% to 105%. Cervical ROM improved across all planes of motion but was only significant in right-side bending (5.3°), left rotation (6.2°), and right rotation (7.8°). Subjective pain evaluated via the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) saw statistically significant improvement as well (1.33 to 0.51). Subjective assessment of participant cervical pain, strength, and flexibility improved 61.3%, 95.7%, and 97.8%, respectively. Conclusions A six-week pericervical muscle stretching and strengthening program increased pericervical endurance and ROM in young adults. Decreased cervical pain was seen using the NRS and modified pain scale across most participants.