Therapeutic exercise in chronic neck and back pain

Arthur A. Rodriquez, Warren J. Bilkey, James C. Agre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Research regarding the effect of exercise on chronic benign axial pain is reviewed. Both chronic low back pain (LBP) and chronic neck pain are associated with weakness of the trunk and neck musculature; however, it is unknown whether weakness is a cause or effect. The relationship between incoordination of the neck or trunk musculature and chronic pain is unclear. Exercise is associated with improved strength and endurance and decreased pain in subjects with LBP but the literature is very sparse with respect to chronic neck pain. Range-of-motion is also diminished in those with LBP and improves with exercise, and is associated with abatement in symptoms. No evidence could be found regarding the effect of exercise on segmental motion. Exercise is also associated with improved function, however the mechanism whereby either pain report or function improves is unclear. A greater understanding of the role of exercise will require more specific studies of strength, coordination, motion, function, and pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-875
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1992


  • Backache
  • Chronic disease
  • Exercise
  • Neck
  • Psychosocial

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