Objective- To see if the use of heat at home between physical therapy sessions results in
better therapy outcomes in people with acute neck pain.
Setting: Physical Therapy outpatient rehabilitation center Participants: 90 people with acute
nonspecific neck pain broken into 4 groups. Intervention: All subjects will undergo 45
minutes of therapy 2 times per week for 2 weeks. All subjects will accomplish 1 hour of
therapeutic exercise at home on days when there is no therapy. Thirty of the subjects will
use ThermaCare neck wraps before home exercise, 30 used Ibuprofen plus ThermaCare neck wraps
before home exercise, 15 will use a sham heat wrap and an Ibuprofen placebo each day (1200 mg
/ day) and the last 15 will be controls with conventional physical therapy.
Neck pain patients admitted to an outpatient physical therapy program will be randomly
assigned to either a control or 3 experimental groups. An initial evaluation and
rehabilitation program will be established which includes a home exercise program. Therapy
will be 2 days per week for 2 weeks. Thirty of the subjects will use ThermaCare continuous
heat neck wraps applied for 6 hours before home exercise, 30 will use ibuprofen (1200 mg /day
given in 3 dosages) plus ThermaCare neck wraps before home exercise, 15 will use a sham heat
wrap and a Ibuprofen placebo each day and the last 15 will have conventional therapy.
Intervention with heat or Ibuprofen will be used on days that they are not being treated in
the clinic. All groups will be evaluated initially and after 2 weeks. They will be given home
exercise and heat compliance logs and analog visual pain scales to be filled out each night
before exercise and, if they used heat, before and after heat will be applied. The physical
therapist will also be asked to evaluate their home compliance, pain and the benefit to them
from the heat packs. Subjects will complete a neck disability questionnaire at the beginning
and end of the study. At the end of the two weeks of treatment, a multivariate ANOVA will be
performed to compare changes in home exercise compliance, functional level, pain level, range
of motion, and strength. A statistical level of p≤.05 is considered predictive of a
difference between groups.
- age 18-80 years
- those with neck pain caused by fractures or spinal damage
- those who have undergone neck surgery within the last year
- those with radiculopathy or those with diagnosed diabetes were excluded from this