Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
People with neck pain often also have, neck disability and limited neck range of movement. Exercises are widely recommended for the improvement of pain in adults with persistent neck pain, but it is not agreed what the most effective exercises are. This study aimed to investigate whether shoulder and neck exercises can improving the neck disability of middle-aged and older adults with persistent neck pain.
Who can participate?
Men and women aged over 45 years with neck pain.
What does the study involve?
Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups. All participants received interferential current therapy (a type of electrical stimulation therapy) for 15 minutes, intermittent (on and off) neck traction (pulling/stretching) for 17 minutes per time and heat pack for 15 minutes, 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Participants in the intervention group were also asked to participate in a 6-week training program of shoulder and neck exercises performed with supervision 3 times a week.
What are the possible benefits ?
Participants might experience improvement in pain, disability and range of motion. They might find some of the treatments uncomfortable or time-consuming.
Where is the study run from?
Wan-Fang Hospital (Taiwan)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
December 2015 to September 2016
Who is funding the study?
Wan Fang Medical Center (Taiwan)
Who is the main contact?
I-Hsien Lin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms I-Hsien Lin
Effect of shoulder and neck exercises on improving neck disability of middle-aged and older adults with chronic neck pain.
shoulder and neck exercises on improving neck disability.
This study explored the effectiveness of 6-week shoulder and neck exercises on improving the neck disability of middle-aged and older adults with chronic neck pain.
The Institutional Review Board of Taipei Medical University, 18/12/2015, ref: N201508012
Randomized controlled assessor-blinded trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
No participant information sheet available
Chronic neck pain
All participants attended physical therapy for 6 weeks. The therapy was composed of interferential current therapy (a type of electrical stimulation therapy) for 15 minutes, intermittent cervical traction for 17 minutes per time and heat pack for 15 minutes, 3 times per week for 6 weeks.
Participants in the intervention group also received a shoulder and neck exercises program consisting of craniocervical flexion exercises and progressive elastic-band resistance exercises. They performed these exercises with one-on-one supervision performed 3 times per week for 6 consecutive weeks.
Primary outcome measure
Pain measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) before and after the 6-week intervention.
Secondary outcome measures
1. Neck disability measured using a neck disability index (NDI) before and after the 6-week intervention.
2. Neck flexibility measured using cervical range of motion (CROM) instrument (CROM Deluxe, Performance Attainment Associates, Lindstrom, MN) before and after the 6-week intervention. The participants were seated on a chair with back support and were asked to perform the maximum angles of flexion, extension, and side bending and rotation until they felt pain. In each direction, the mean CROM derived from the 3 angles was obtained.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Aged 45 years or older
2. Have experienced neck pain for more than 3 months
3. Neck pain exceeding 30 mm on a visual analogue scale (VAS)
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Aged younger than 45 years
2. History of spine surgery
3. Major cardiovascular diseases
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
6. Shoulder impingement syndrome
7. Spinal tumor
8 Participated in a neck exercise program in past 12 months.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
111 Hsing-Long Road, Section 3
Wan Fang Medical Center
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication of study results in a peer reviewed journal.
IPD Sharing plan:
The data sets generated and/or analysed during the current study during this study will be included in the subsequent results publication
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Basic results (scientific)