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Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(23):1971-7. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

Effects of long-term home-based exercise on health-related quality of life in patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized study with a 1-year follow-up.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Central Finland Health Care District, Keskussairaalantie, Jyväskylä, Finland.



To evaluate whether long-term neck and upper body exercises conducted in economical community-based outpatient clinic and home-based settings could improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL)for individuals affected by chronic neck pain. The effect of baseline HRQoL and neck pain values on training adherence was also studied.


Subjects (n = 101, 91 women/10 men, mean age 41.0 ± 9.5 years) with chronic non-specific neck pain were randomized to a combined strength-training and stretching-exercise group (CSSG, n = 49) or to a stretching exercise group (SG, n = 52). HRQoL was assessed at baseline and after 12 months using the RAND-36 questionnaire. Comparisons between groups were performed using bootstrap-type analysis of covariance. The impact of HRQoL and neck pain values on training adherence, determined using participants' exercise logs, was studied using generalized estimating equations.


CSSG showed significant improvements in five and SG in four of eight of the HRQoL dimensions. There were no significant differences between the groups. Adherence to long-term training was only slightly affected by baseline-assessed HRQoL and neck pain values.


The two training protocols were feasible and equally effective in improving HRQoL. Baseline HRQoL and pain values had only a minor effect on training adherence.


• Long-term strength training and stretching are effective in improving HRQoL in people with chronic neck pain. • Baseline HRQoL and neck pain values have little effect on training adherence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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