Background: Although exercise is the mainstay of treatment for neck pain (NP), uncertainty remains over optimal decision-making concerning who may benefit most from such, particularly in the long term. Objective: To identify the subgroup of patients with nonspecific NP most likely to benefit from stretching and muscle-performance exercises. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of treatment outcomes of 70 patients (10 of whom dropped out) with a primary complaint of nonspecific NP in one treatment arm of a prospective, randomized, controlled trial. All patients performed the exercises, twice weekly for 6 weeks, and a home exercise program. Blinded outcome measurements were collected at baseline, after the 6-week program, and at a 6-month follow-up. Patients rated their perceived recovery on a 15-point global rating of change scale; a rating of “quite a bit better” (+5) or higher was defined as a successful outcome. Clinical predictor variables were developed via logistic regression analysis to classify patients with NP that may benefit from exercise-based treatment. Results: NP duration since onset≤6 months, no cervicogenic headache, and shoulder protraction were independent predictor variables. The pretest probability of success was 47% after the 6-week intervention and 40% at the 6-month follow-up. The corresponding posttest probabilities of success for participants with all three variables were 86% and 71%, respectively; such participants were likely to recover. Conclusion: The clinical predictor variables developed in this study may identify patients with nonspecific NP likely to benefit most from stretching and muscle-performance exercises in the short and long terms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation