Cervical Stabilization Exercises Versus Scapular Stabilization Exercises in Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain

Document Type : Original Article


The Department of Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University


Abstract Background: Mechanical neck pain is pain in the cervical region accompanied by restriction of range of motion and functional limitation which results in significant use of med-ication, work related absenteeism, impaired performance and poor quality of life. Spinal stabilization exercises are popular for treating and preventing musculoskeletal spinal disorders by the activation of deep muscles and controlling the over activity of surface muscles. Aim of Study: The aim of this study was to compare between the efficacy of cervical stabilization exercises and scapular stabilization exercises on neck pain severity, neck functional disability and neck mobility in treatment of patients with chronic mechanical neck pain. Material and Methods: Forty male and female patients diagnosed as chronic mechanical neck pain whose age ranged between 30 to 50 years with duration of illness between 3 and 12 months participated in this study. They were randomly distributed into two equal experimental groups. The first group received cervical stabilization exercises which consisted of strengthening exercises for deep neck flexors and extensors muscles added to stretching exercises for pectoralis minor, upper trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles. The second group received scapular stabilization exercises which consisted of strengthening exercises for serratus anterior, middle trapezius and lower trapezius muscles added to stretching exercises similar to the first group. All patients were treated for 12 sessions (3 sessions/week) every other day for four weeks. Results: Both groups had significant improvement in all the measured variables. Scapular stabilization exercises was significantly more effective than cervical stabilization exercises in increasing neck transverse mobility. However, there was no significant difference between groups in neck pain severity, functional disability, neck sagittal and coronal mobility.