Do cervical degenerative changes in women with chronic neck pain affect function?
Matti Nykänen, Jari Ylinen and Arja Häkkinen
Objective: Previous investigations suggest little association between clinical findings and radiographic degenerative findings. However, the association between degenerative changes and neck function has not been investigated.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Subjects: Data were collected from 179 female office workers aged 25–53 years with chronic neck pain who were referred for institutional rehabilitation.
Methods: Radiographs of the cervical spine, and neck function including isometric muscle strength and passive range of motion were evaluated. All subjects completed self-report questionnaires including questions about neck pain and disability.
Results: Fifty-nine percent of the women presented degenerative changes and they were older than women without the changes (p = 0. 001). Neck pain and disability were comparable when the patients were put into subgroups according to the radiological cervical changes. Neck mobility and muscle strength were comparable in women with or without degenerative changes, except for a lower rotational range of motion in women with degenerative changes (p = 0. 009).
Conclusion: The results suggest that the degenerative changes in cervical plain films are poorly related to the severity of symptoms or neck function in women with chronic neck pain working in sedentary occupations.
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