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The Effects of Thoracic Spine Self-mobilization Exercise Using a Tool on Pain, Range of Motion, and Dysfunction of Chronic Neck Pain Patients  

Kim, Su-jin (Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Daejeon University)
Kim, Suhn-yeop (Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health and Medical Science, Daejeon University)
Lee, Min-ji (Department of Physical Therapy, Dunsan Oriental Hospital, Daejeon University)
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Physical Therapy Korea / v.27, no.1, 2020 , pp. 1-10 More about this Journal
Background: Thoracic spine self-mobilization exercise is commonly used to manage patients with neck pain. However, no previous studies have investigated the effects of thoracic spine self-mobilization exercise alone in patients with chronic neck pain. Objects: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of thoracic self-mobilization using a tool on cervical range of motion (ROM), disability level, upper body posture, pain and fear-avoidance beliefs questionnaire (FABQ) in patients with chronic neck pain. Methods: The subjects were 49 patients (21 males, 28 females) with chronic neck pain. The subjects were randomly divided into an experimental group (EG, n = 23) and control group (CG, n = 26). For the EG, thoracic self-mobilization was applied. We placed a tool (made with 2 tennis balls) under 3 different vertebral levels (T1-4, T5-8, T9-12) of the thoracic spine and the subjects performed crunches, which included thoracic flexion and extension in supine position. Five times × 3 sets for each levels, twice a week, for 4 weeks. Cervical pain, disability, upper body posture, FABQ results, and ROM were evaluated at baseline, after 4 weeks of intervention, and at 8 weeks of follow-up. Assessments included the quadruple visual analogue scale (QVAS); Northwick Park neck pain questionnaire (NPQ); craniovertebral angles (CVA), forward shoulder angle (FSA) and kyphosis angle (KA) measurements for upper body posture; FABQ and cervical ROM testing. Results: The EG showed a statistically significant improvement after intervention in the QVAS (-51.16%); NPQ (-53.46%); flexion (20.95%), extension (25.32%), left rotation (14.04%), and right rotation (25.32%) in the ROM of the cervical joint; KA (-7.14%); CVA (9.82%); and FSA (-4.12%). Conclusion: These results suggest that, for patients with chronic neck pain, thoracic self-mobilization exercise using a tool (tennis balls) is effective to improve neck pain, disability level, the ROM, and upper body posture.
Chronic; Neck pain; Range of motion; Self-mobilization; Thoracic;
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