Objective: The aims of this study were to assess intrarater reliability and to calculate the standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimal detectable change (MDC) for deep neck flexor and neck extensor muscle endurance tests, and compare the results between individuals with and without subclinical neck pain.
Methods: Participants were students of the University of Aveiro reporting subclinical neck pain and asymptomatic participants matched for sex and age to the neck pain group. Data on endurance capacity of the deep neck flexors and neck extensors were collected by a blinded assessor using the deep neck flexor endurance test and the extensor endurance test, respectively. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), SEM, and MDC were calculated for measurements taken within a session by the same assessor. Differences between groups for endurance capacity were investigated using a Mann-Whitney U test.
Results: The deep neck flexor endurance test (ICC = 0.71; SEM = 6.91 seconds; MDC = 19.15 seconds) and neck extensor endurance test (ICC = 0.73; SEM = 9.84 minutes; MDC = 2.34 minutes) are reliable. No significant differences were found between participants with and without neck pain for both tests of muscle endurance (P > .05).
Conclusion: The endurance capacity of the deep neck flexors and neck extensors can be reliably measured in participants with subclinical neck pain. However, the wide SEM and MDC might limit the sensitivity of these tests.
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