What is it about?

we aim to investigate whether deep neck flexor (DNF) exercise is effective in the management of neck pain when this intervention is added as a supplement to physical therapy agents (PTA) or when it is compared with isometric, stretching, and scapulothoracic exercises.

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Why is it important?

Studies have identified impaired activation of the deep cervical flexor muscles, the longus colli and longus capitis, in people with neck pain. Given the role of the deep cervical flexor muscles in postural support and the knowledge of impaired activation of these muscles in people with neck pain, it is likely that this patient population also would display deficits in the postural endurance of these muscles. Indeed, people with neck pain drift into a more forward head position when distracted. Thus, exercise is one of the most frequently used modalities in the rehabilitation of subjects with neck pain to gain muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility in order to restore injured tissues, and to sustain normal life activities. Exercise programs for managing neck pain differ with regard to duration, training frequency, intensity, and mode of exercise. Previous studies have shown that isometric exercises and strength training can have positive effects on neck pain. On the other hand, retraining the deep cervical flexor muscles, which has been shown to decrease neck pain symptoms and increase the activation of the deep cervical flexor muscles during performance of the clinical test of craniocervical flexion, may improve the ability to maintain an upright posture of the cervical spine.


The combination treatment of DCF exercise + PTA is the most effective intervention for the management of neck pain, with some advantages in pain, disability, and ROM over the combination of isometric, stretching, and scapulothoracic exercises + PTA, or PTA alone.

Prof. Dr. Amr Almaz Abdel-aziem
Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Efficacy of deep neck flexor exercise for neck pain: a randomized controlled study, Türkiye Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Dergisi, June 2016, Baycinar Tibbi Yayincilik,
DOI: 10.5606/tftrd.2016.84565.
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