OBJECTIVE: To report on gaps in the literature and make methodologic recommendations based on our review of the literature on frequency and risk factors, assessment, intervention, and course and prognostic factors for neck pain and its associated disorders.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The scientific literature on neck pain is large and of variable quality. We reviewed 1203 studies and judged 46% to be of sufficient scientific validity to be included in the best evidence synthesis. Scientific quality varied across study topics, and fundamental questions remain about important issues.
METHODS: The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and its Associated Disorders (Neck Pain Task Force) conducted a critical review of the literature published between 1980 and 2006 to assemble the best evidence on neck pain and its associated disorders. Studies meeting criteria for scientific validity were included in a best evidence synthesis.
RESULTS: We outline a large number of gaps in the current literature. For example, we found important gaps in our knowledge about neck pain in children (risk factors, screening criteria to rule out serious injury, management, course and prognosis); and in the prevention of neck pain-related activity limitations. Few studies addressed the impact of culture or social policies (such as governmental health policies or insurance compensation policies) on neck pain. A number of important questions remain about the effectiveness of commonly used interventions for neck pain.
CONCLUSION: The Neck Pain Task Force undertook a best evidence synthesis to establish a baseline of the current best evidence on the course and prognosis for whiplash-associated disorders. We identify a number of gaps in the current knowledge, and provide recommendations for the conduct of future studies.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for the PubMed record; full text by subscription. Republished from: Spine 2008 Feb 15;33(4 Suppl):S214-220. Free full text is available through PubMed Central.