J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2022 Jul 12. doi: 10.3233/BMR-220008. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Chronic neck pain is one of the main reasons for visiting a healthcare professional. In recent years, it has been shown that upper cervical restriction may be a factor involved in neck pain.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the immediate effects of a real cervical mobilization technique versus a sham cervical mobilization technique in patients with chronic neck pain and upper cervical restriction.
METHODS: This was a randomised, controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Twenty-eight patients with chronic neck pain were recruited and divided into two groups (14 = real cervical mobilization; 14 = sham mobilization). Both groups received a single 5-minute treatment session. Upper cervical range motion, flexion-rotation test, deep cervical activation and pressure pain threshold were measured.
RESULTS: In the between-groups comparison, statistically significant differences were found in favour of the real cervical mobilization group in upper cervical extension (p= 0.003), more restricted side of flexion-rotation test (p< 0.001) and less restricted side of flexion-rotation test (p= 0.007) and in the pressure pain threshold of the right trapezius (p= 0.040) and right splenius (p= 0.049). No differences in deep muscle activation were obtained.
CONCLUSION: The real cervical mobilization group generates improvements in upper cervical spine movement and pressure pain threshold of right trapezius and right splenius compared to the sham group in patients with chronic neck pain and upper cervical restriction.