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Associations of neck–shoulder muscle strength gain, self-rated pain and disability in women with nonspecific neck pain
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Aim: to investigate the association between changes in neck-shoulder muscle strength and changes in self-rated pain and disability, for women with nonspecific neck pain after a neck-shoulder strength training intervention. 


Methods: Observational longitudinal correlation study based on an experimental study. Data was retrieved from an RCT with neck-shoulder exercise intervention. 45 women, age 20-64, with nonspecific neck-shoulder pain were divided into three groups based on type of exercise they received. Craniocervical flexion training (CCF)-group n=15; cervicothoracic training (CTH)-group n=18; craniocervical flexion training and cervicothoracic training (CCF+CTH)-group n=12. Spearman’s correlation coefficient (rs) was used for statistical analyses of correlations between changes in neck-shoulder strength, self-rated pain and disability. Change values from baseline to follow up one week after intervention period for CCF-strength, CTH-strength, Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and Neck Disability Index (NDI) were used for the correlation analyses.


Results: Correlations between neck strength changes and changes in pain and disability were overall low or very low. An improvement in CTH-extension showed a moderate correlation with an increase in disability in the CCF+CTH-group. For all other correlation analyses, CCF-strength and CTH-strength showed low (rs 0,3-0,5) or very low (rs 0,0-0,3) correlations with both NRS and NDI.


Conclusion:  The results from this study give no support for neck-shoulder muscle strength gain being the explaining mechanism behind reduced neck pain and disability in women with non-specific neck pain after neck-shoulder strength training intervention. The results give indications of the complexity around neck pain and exercise. Future research should further investigate mechanisms related to neck-shoulder exercise, pain and disability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Neck pain, correlation, exercise, strength, Disability, Spearman’s, Physiotherapy
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-122067OAI: diva2:937071
Educational program
Master's Programme in Physiotherapy
Available from: 2016-09-16 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically approved

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