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Rehabil Res Pract. 2012;2012:570387. doi: 10.1155/2012/570387. Epub 2012 May 7.

Effectiveness of the gaze direction recognition task for chronic neck pain and cervical range of motion: a randomized controlled pilot study.

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Department of Neurorehabilitation, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kio University, 4-2-2 Umami-naka, Koryo-cho, Kitakatsuragi-gun, Nara 635-0832, Japan.


We developed a mental task with gaze direction recognition (GDR) by which subjects observed neck rotation of another individual from behind and attempted to recognize the direction of gaze. A randomized controlled trial was performed in test (n = 9) and control (n = 8) groups of subjects with chronic neck pain undergoing physical therapy either with or without the GDR task carried out over 12 sessions during a three-week period. Primary outcome measures were defined as the active range of motion and pain on rotation of the neck. Secondary outcome measures were reaction time (RT) and response accuracy in the GDR task group. ANOVA indicated a main effect for task session and group, and interaction of session. Post hoc testing showed that the GDR task group exhibited a significant simple main effect upon session, and significant sequential improvement of neck motion and relief of neck pain. Rapid effectiveness was significant in both groups. The GDR task group had a significant session-to-session reduction of RTs in correct responses. In conclusion, the GDR task we developed provides a promising rehabilitation measure for chronic neck pain.

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