Background: Mechanical chronic neck pain is very common musculoskeletal dysfunction among people, manifesting one or more pain-induced movements and disability impairments. Clinical guidelines suggest passive cervical mobilization and thoracic manipulation as manual therapy interventions. Mulligan concept has positive effect in patients with lumbar and thoracic spine mechanical chronic pain. Study objective was to investigate possible clinical effects of Mulligan techniques in patients with cervical pain according to pain and disability status.
Methods: forty participants diagnosed with mechanical chronic cervical pain, randomly assigned into experimental and control group. NAG, SNAG and self-SNAG joint mobilization in a nine-sessions protocol implemented to the study group, while SHAM-Mulligan techniques applied to control group. Self-reported questionnaires Numeric Pain Rating scale (NPRT) and Neck Disability Index (NDI) were used for the measurement of pain and disability levels respectively. Possible Interactions among Factors (TIME X GROUP) and simple effects in three-time measurements of pre, post and one-month follow-up concerning NDI and NPRS variables, were detected with Mixed-ANOVA test.
Results: Baseline scores of pain and disability resulted in no differences between groups. A significant Group and Time factors interaction founded and simple main effects analysis showed that Mulligan concept-group had significant improvement in post-intervention NPRT and NDI scores (p<.001), compared to baseline scores. Follow-up also differed compared to post-treatment score (p<.001). SHAM-Mulligan control group had no significant differences in dependent variables at any level of TIME factor (p>.001). Significant differences were found between groups according to second and third measurement phase (p<.001).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that Mulligan concept techniques improve symptoms of pain and disability in chronic mechanical neck pain patients in short and mid-term effect level.
Summary: Mobilization techniques of SNAGs, NAGS and self-SNAGs reduces pain and improve function in patients with mechanical neck pain. Taken into consideration the safety and simplicity of application, future studies are encourage to examine the underline mechanism of action.
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