Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised, controlled trials.
Participants: People without neck pain at study entry.
Intervention: Any intervention aiming to prevent a future episode of neck pain.
Outcome measures: New episode of neck pain.
Results: Five trials including a total of 3852 individuals met the inclusion criteria. The pooled results from two randomised, controlled trials (500 participants) found moderate-quality evidence that exercise reduces the risk of a new episode of neck pain (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.86). One of the meta-analysed trials included some co-interventions with the exercise. There was low-quality evidence from three randomised, controlled trials (3352 participants) that ergonomic programs do not reduce the risk of a new neck pain episode (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.35).
Conclusion:This review found moderate-quality evidence supporting the effectiveness of an exercise program for reducing the risk of a new episode of neck pain. There is a need for high-quality randomised, controlled trials evaluating interventions to prevent new episodes of neck pain.
De Campos TF, Maher CG, Steffens D, Fuller JT, Hancock MJ (2018) Exercise programs may be effective in preventing a new episode of neck pain: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy 64: 159–165]