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Motor control using cranio-cervical flexion exercises versus other treatments for non-specific chronic neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis [with consumer summary]
Martin-Gomez C, Sestelo-Diaz R, Carrillo-Sanjuan V, Navarro-Santana MJ, Bardon-Romero J, Plaza-Manzano G
Musculoskeletal Science & Practice 2019 Apr;42:52-59
systematic review

BACKGROUND: Chronic neck pain affects a significant percentage of the adult population. Commonly, the pain is of unknown origin. In those cases, some alterations in motor control (MC) can appear in the deep cervical muscles. The specific training of these muscles could improve muscular function and reduce pain and disability. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether MC, using cranio-cervical flexion (CCF), is more effective than other treatments for non-specific chronic neck pain (NSCNP). DESIGN: Systematic review with meta-analysis. METHODS: A search was done in journals and in a variety of databases, between December 2017 and March 2018. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews of RCTs comparing MC with other treatments in adults with NSCNP, regarding pain and disability, were included. Risk of bias was analysed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Data was analysed using a random effects model. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the I2 statistic. The quality of the evidence was measured using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. RESULTS: Ten articles were included for qualitative review; nine were used for a quantitative analysis about the effect of MC on pain and eight for the analysis regarding disability. The meta-analysis comparing MC versus other treatments showed significant differences regarding pain and disability. CONCLUSIONS: MC interventions for NSCNP patients reduces pain and disability. MC seems to be more effective to reduce pain and disability than other treatments.

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