Effectiveness of exercise in office workers with neck pain : a systematic review and meta-analysis

Louw, Shereen ; Makwela, Shale ; Manas, Lorisha ; Meyer, Lyle ; Terblanche, Daniele ; Brink, Yolandi (2017)

CITATION: Louw, S., et al. 2017. Effectiveness of exercise in office workers with neck pain : a systematic review and meta-analysis. South African Journal of Physiotherapy, 73(1):1-11, doi:10.4102/sajp.v73i1.392.

The original publication is available at http://www.sajp.co.za

Article

Background: Non-specific neck pain is a common health problem of global concern for office workers. This systematic review ascertained the latest evidence for the effectiveness of therapeutic exercise versus no therapeutic exercise on reducing neck pain and improving quality of life (QoL) in office workers with non-specific neck pain. Method: Seven electronic databases using keywords, that is, ‘office workers’, ‘non-specific neck pain’, ‘exercise’ and/or ‘exercise therapy’, ‘QoL’, ‘strengthening’, ‘stretching’, ‘endurance’, ‘physiotherapy’ and/or ‘physical therapy’, were searched from inception until March 2017. Heterogeneous data were reported in narrative format and comparable homogenous data were pooled using Revman. Results: Eight randomised control trials were reviewed and scored on average 6.63/10 on the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. Five studies performed strengthening exercise, one study had a strengthening and an endurance exercise group, one study performed stretching exercise and one study had an endurance intervention group and a stretching intervention group. Five and four studies reported significant improvement in neck pain and QoL, respectively, when conducting strengthening exercise. When performing endurance exercises, one and two studies reported significant changes in neck pain and QoL, respectively. The one study incorporating stretching exercise reported significant improvement in neck pain. The meta-analysis revealed that there is a clinically significant difference favouring strengthening exercise over no exercise in pain reduction but not for QoL. Conclusion: There is level II evidence recommending that clinicians include strengthening exercise to improve neck pain and QoL. However, the effect of endurance and stretching exercise needs to be explored further.

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