Exercise Training + Patient Education for Neck Pain

April 14, 2017 in STSMPT

Exercise training and patient education are both common approaches for helping people with neck pain. Multiple studies have emerged to help find the most cost-effective path for patients. This often involves breaking common treatment ideas into their components and seeing if we can get the same results with less investment. A recent, randomized-controlled trial takes a look at combined education and exercise therapy versus education alone. The results show that adding specific aerobic training for the neck muscles to education sessions is a better approach than education alone.


Participants with neck pain for at least six months were assigned to one of two groups: education-only group or the combination group. Both groups received four 1.5-hour long sessions of pain education over eight weeks, which covered topics like accepting pain, coping strategies for pain, and setting goals based on managing pain. The combination group also received eight 30-minute supervised training sessions that included aerobic training and balance exercises for the neck and shoulder. The participants were evaluated for pain, balance, and flexibility before the study, as well as four and 12 months afterward. Those who received the exercise training in addition to the education experienced greater reductions in pain, more flexibility in the neck muscle, and improvements in balance and posture.


If you or someone you love suffers from neck pain, come see us. Our qualified therapists can combine the strategies from this study to help you live happy and healthy.


Source: Brage K, Ris I, Falla D, et al. Pain education combined with neck- and aerobic training is more effective at relieving chronic neck pain than pain education alone – A preliminary randomized controlled trial. Manual Therapy, 2015; 20(5): 686-693.

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