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J Phys Ther Sci. 2013 Sep;25(9):1157-62. doi: 10.1589/jpts.25.1157. Epub 2013 Oct 20.

Effects of strength and endurance training of superficial and deep neck muscles on muscle activities and pain levels of females with chronic neck pain.

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Faculty of Physical Therapy, Mahidol University.


[Purpose] To compare muscle activities and pain levels of females with chronic neck pain receiving different exercise programs. [Subjects and Methods] One hundred females with chronic neck pain participated in this study. They were randomly allocated into 4 groups (n = 25) on the basis of the exercises performed as follows: strength-endurance exercise, craniocervical flexion exercise, combination of strength-endurance and craniocervical flexion exercise and control groups. Pain, disability levels and changes in the muscle activities of the cervical erector spinae (CE), sternocleidomastoid (SCM), anterior scalenes (AS) and upper trapezius (UT) muscles were evaluated before and after the interventions. [Results] After 12 weeks of exercise intervention, all three exercise groups showed improvements in pain and disability. The muscle activities during the typing task were significantly different from the control group in all three exercise groups for all muscles except those of the extensor muscles in the craniocervical flexion exercise group. [Conclusion] The results of this study indicate that exercises for the cervical muscles improve pain and disability. The exercise programs reduced the activities of almost all cervical muscles.


Chronic neck pain; Exercise; Muscle activity

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