APPLIED RELAXATION IN THE TREATMENT OF LONG-LASTING NECK PAIN: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED PILOT STUDY
Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility of study design and method for evaluating effects of interventions on patients with long-lasting neck pain and to compare treatment effects of: (i) a pain and stress management group intervention with applied relaxation, and (ii) individual physiotherapy treatment as usual.Design: Randomized controlled pilot study.Subjects: Thirty-seven patients with long-lasting neck pain.Methods: The patients were randomly assigned either to applied relaxation or treatment as usual. The applied relaxation group received 7 group sessions over a period of 7 weeks and the treatment as usual group an average of 11 individual sessions spread over 20 weeks following baseline. Twenty-nine participants completed the intervention and filled in a self-assessment questionnaire before treatment, and 7 and 20 weeks after baseline. The questionnaire comprised: Neck Disability Index, Coping Strategies Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, and questions regarding neck pain, analgesic use, sleep, sick-leave and utilization of healthcare.Results: The applied relaxation group had better perceived control over pain at the 20 weeks follow-up compared with the treatment as usual group.Conclusion: The design and methods of this pilot study were feasible and will be suitable for a larger randomized controlled study.