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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8010891, 8 pages
Research Article

How Do Patients with Chronic Neck Pain Experience the Effects of Qigong and Exercise Therapy? A Qualitative Interview Study

1Institute of Public Health, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Seestrasse 73, 13347 Berlin, Germany
2Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10098 Berlin, Germany
3Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Zurich and UniversityHospital Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 9 December 2015; Revised 13 May 2016; Accepted 22 May 2016

Academic Editor: Maruti Ram Gudavalli

Copyright © 2016 Christine Holmberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The high prevalence of chronic neck pain in high income countries impacts quality of life and the social and work-related activities of those afflicted. We aimed to understand how mind-body therapies and exercise therapy may influence the experience of pain among patients with chronic neck pain. Methods. This qualitative interview study investigated how patients with chronic neck pain experienced the effects of exercise or qigong therapy at two time points: during an intervention at three months and after the intervention at six months. Interviews were analysed thematically across interviews and within person-cases. Based on other qualitative studies, a sample size of 20 participants was deemed appropriate. Results. The sample () consisted of 16 women and four men (age range: 29 to 59). Patients’ experiences differed according to the therapies’ philosophies. Exercise therapy group interviewees described a focus on correct posture and muscle tension release. Qigong group interviewees discussed calming and relaxing effects. Maintaining regular exercise was easier to achieve with exercise therapy. Conclusions. The findings of this study may help health care providers when counselling chronic pain patients on self-help interventions by informing them of different bodily and emotional experiences of mind-body interventions compared to exercise therapy.