Background: Several tests have been suggested to assess the isometric endurance of the cervical flexor (NFME) and extensors (NEE) muscles. This study proposes to determine whether neck flexors endurance is related to extensor endurance, and whether cervical muscle endurance is related to disability, pain amount and pain stage in subjects with neck pain.
Methods: Thirty subjects (18 women, 12 men, mean ± SD age: 43 ± 12 years) complaining of neck pain filled out the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the Neck Pain and Disability Scale-Italian version (NPDS-I). They also completed the timed endurance tests for the cervical muscles.
Results: The mean endurance was 246.7 ± 150 seconds for the NEE test, and 44.9 ± 25.3 seconds for the NMFE test. A significant correlation was found between the results of these two tests (r = 0.52, p = 0.003). A positive relationship was also found between VAS and NPDS-I (r = 0.549, p = 0.002). The endurance rates were similar for acute/subacute and chronic subjects, whereas males demonstrated significantly higher values compared to females in NFME test.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that neck flexors and extensors endurance are correlated and that the cervical endurance is not significantly altered by the duration of symptoms in subjects with neck pain.
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