Original research| Volume 97, ISSUE 2, P189-195, February 2016

Effects of Neck-Specific Exercises Compared to Waiting List for Individuals With Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorders: A Prospective, Randomized Controlled Study

Published:October 26, 2015DOI:


      • The results showed that neck-specific exercises (NSEs) significantly benefited neck disability, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life compared with the untreated group.
      • There was significant improvement over time in all outcomes for the NSE group, and mostly significant worsening over time for the untreated group.
      • The results indicated that NSEs were more beneficial than no intervention while on a waiting list for individuals with chronic whiplash-associated disorders.



      To determine whether 3 months of neck-specific exercises (NSEs) could benefit individuals with chronic whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) who were on a waiting list (WL) for treatment.


      A prospective, randomized controlled study.


      Primary health care.


      Individuals (N=41; 31 women, 10 men; mean age ± SD, 38±11.2y) with chronic (6–36mo) WAD, grades 2 and 3, were analyzed.


      Patients were randomly assigned to NSEs or no treatment for 3 months.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Neck-specific disability (Neck Disability Index [NDI]), neck pain (visual analog scale), general pain-related disability (Pain Disability Index [PDI]), self-perceived performance ability (Self-Efficacy Scale [SES]), and health-related quality of life (EuroQol 5 dimensions [EQ-5D]) were measured.


      NSEs significantly improved the NDI, SES, and EQ-5D compared with WL (P<.01). There was significant improvement (P<.0001) over time in all outcomes for NSEs, and apart from the PDI, significant worsening (P=.002–.0002) over time for the untreated group.


      NSEs were more beneficial than no intervention while on a WL for individuals with chronic WAD.


      List of abbreviations:

      EQ-5D (EuroQol 5 dimensions), NDI (Neck Disability Index), NSE (neck-specific exercise), PDI (Pain Disability Index), SES (Self-Efficacy Scale), VAS (visual analog scale), WAD (whiplash-associated disorder), WL (waiting list)
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