Neck Strength, Cervical Spine Mobility Don't Predict Pain

Isometric neck muscle strength and cervical spine mobility not predictive of future neck pain

FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Neither isometric neck muscle strength nor passive mobility of the cervical spine, two physical capacity parameters found to be associated with neck pain in other studies, predicts later neck pain in pain-free working-age women, according to a study published in the May 20 issue of Spine.

Petri Salo, D.Sc., of the Central Finland Health Care District in Jyväskylä, and colleagues conducted a six-year prospective study that began with an initial evaluation of the isometric neck muscle strength and passive range of motion of the cervical spine in 220 healthy, pain-free working-age women aged 20 to 59 years. Six years later, patients were mailed a survey to assess their neck pain.

The researchers found that 19 percent of the 192 responders (37 women) reported neck pain for seven days during the previous year. Using area under the receiver operative characteristics curves, neither isometric neck strength (0.52 to 0.56) nor passive mobility of the cervical spine (0.54 to 0.56) were determined to be predictive of future neck pain.

"The results suggest that neither isometric neck muscle strength nor passive mobility of cervical spine has predictive value for later occurrences of neck pain in pain-free working-age women," the authors write. "Thus, screening healthy subjects for weaker neck muscle strength or poorer mobility of cervical spine may not be recommended for preventive purposes."

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