METHODS: This prospective longitudinal study was completed in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. Subjects, with uncomplicated neck pain (no concurrent shoulder pain or nerve root symptoms) for more than a 3-month duration, participated in a 4-week course of therapy that included moist heat, neck exercises, and either mobilization or massage. Outcome measures included standardized response means (sensitivity to change), Cronbach alpha (internal consistency), and 2-way Spearman correlations between the 2 questionnaires and between a pain Visual Analog Scale and each questionnaire (convergent validity).
RESULTS: Mean (SD) score change of the NDI was 6.22 (5.12), and of the NBQ, 14.00 (11.99). Standardized response means were 1.21 and 1.17, respectively. Both questionnaires were more sensitive to change than the pain Visual Analog Scale (0.68). There was moderate correlation between the change scores of all 3 outcome tools (Spearman 0.46-0.57). The NBQ had higher internal consistency than the NDI.
CONCLUSIONS: The NDI and the NBQ performed comparably in this group of patients with chronic uncomplicated neck pain. Both are sensitive to change and would be efficient outcome tools in studies of chronic neck pain. Both had acceptable internal consistency and are appropriate for use as single-outcome scales.
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