Table of Contents
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 567175, 23 pages
Review Article

Evidence of Physiotherapy Interventions for Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials

1Research Unit of Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
2Department of Rehabilitation, Aeroe Municipality, 5970 Aeroeskoebing, Denmark
3The Parker Institute, Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2000 Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Bergen University College, Institute of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Radiography, Department of Health Sciences, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Received 12 February 2013; Accepted 13 March 2013

Academic Editors: A. Blumenfeld and A. Nackley

Copyright © 2013 Pia Damgaard 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.


Chronic neck pain (CNP) is common and costly, and the effect of physiotherapeutic interventions on the condition is unclear. We reviewed the literature for evidence of effect of physiotherapy interventions on patients with CNP. Five bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and PEDro) were systematically searched. Randomised, placebo and active-treatment-controlled trials including physiotherapy interventions for adults with CNP were selected. Data were extracted primary outcome was pain. Risk of bias was appraised. Effect of an intervention was assessed, weighted to risk of bias. 42 trials reporting on randomised comparisons of various physiotherapy interventions and control conditions were eligible for inclusion involving 3919 patients with CNP. Out of these, 23 were unclear or at high risk of bias, and their results were considered moderate- or low-quality evidence. Nineteen were at low risk of bias, and here eight trials found effect on pain of a physiotherapy intervention. Only exercise therapy, focusing on strength and endurance training, and multimodal physiotherapy, cognitive-behavioural interventions, massage, manipulations, laser therapy, and to some extent also TNS appear to have an effect on CNP. However, sufficient evidence for application of a specific physiotherapy modality or aiming at a specific patient subgroup is not available.