Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a low-load training program for the deep cervical flexors (DCFs) on pain, disability, and pressure pain threshold (PPT) over cervical myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in patients with chronic neck pain.
Methods: Thirty patients with chronic idiopathic neck pain participated in a 6-week program of specific training for the DCF, which consisted of active craniocervical flexion performed twice per day (10-20 minutes) for the duration of the trial. Perceived pain and disability (Neck Disability Index, 0-50) and PPT over MTrPs of the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and splenius capitis muscles were measured at the beginning and end of the training period.
Results: After completion of training, there was a significant reduction in Neck Disability Index values (before, 18.2 ± 12.1; after, 13.5 ± 10.6; P < .01). However, no significant changes in PPT were observed over the MTrPs.
Conclusion: Patients performing DCF training for 6 weeks demonstrated reductions in pain and disability but did not show changes in pressure pain sensitivity over MTrPs in the splenius capitis, levator scapulae, or upper trapezius muscles.
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