The Relevance of Proprioception to Chronic Neck Pain: A Correlational Analysis of Flexor Muscle Size and Endurance, Clinical Neck Pain Characteristics, and Proprioception.

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Impairment in the cervical proprioception and deep flexor muscle function and morphology have been regarded to be associated with chronic neck pain (CNP).


 The aim of the study is to assess the relationship between proprioception and flexor endurance capacity and size and clinical CNP characteristics.


 This was an observational, cross-sectional study.


 Rehabilitation hospital laboratory.


 Sixty subjects with or without CNP participated in the study.


 Joint position error, clinical deep flexor endurance test score, longus colli/capitis and sternocleidomastoid muscle size, pain intensity, neck pain-related disability, and fear of movement were assessed. Multivariate analysis of variance and Pearson correlation tests were used to compare the groups and quantify the strength of the associations among variables, respectively. Logistic regression analysis was performed to test the predictive value of the dependent variables for the development of neck pain.


 CNP patients showed lower flexor endurance (P = 0.01) and smaller longus colli size (P < 0.01). The joint position error was not statistically different between the groups. Longus colli size was correlated with local flexor endurance in both CNP (P = 0.01) and control (P = 0.04) groups. Among clinical CNP characteristics, kinesiophobia showed fair correlation with joint position error (r = 0.39, P = 0.03). Left rotation error and local flexor endurance were significant predictors of CNP development (β = 1.22, P = 0.02, and β = 0.97, P = 0.02, respectively).


 The results indicated that cervical proprioception was associated neither with deep flexor muscle structure/function nor with clinical CNP characteristics. Left rotation error and local flexor endurance were found relevant to neck pain development.

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