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Effectiveness of Manual Therapy in Patients With Neck Pain. (NECKproject)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00713843
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : July 14, 2008
Last Update Posted : March 18, 2015
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Rob Oostendorp, Radboud University

Brief Summary:

Background of the study: Manual Therapy applied to patients with non-specific neck pain has been investigated several times, both internationally and nationally. In the Netherlands different types of manual therapy treatment exist. Manual Therapy, as practiced under the Utrecht School, has not been subject of a randomized controlled trial. There is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of this type of manual therapy.

Objective of the study: This trial will investigate the effectiveness of Manual Therapy in the short and long-term up to 52 weeks in patient with (sub) acute (minimal two weeks) and chronic (maximum 52 weeks) since last episode of neck pain. Functional state, pain and global perceived effect are the outcome variables.

Study design: The study is a single blind randomized controlled trial.

Study population: Men and women aged 18 to 70 years old with neck pain for at least two weeks.

Intervention: The experimental group will be treated with manual therapy for a period of six weeks. The control group will be treated with physical therapy (usual care) also for a period of six weeks.

Primary study parameters / outcome of the study: Global Perceived Effect (GPE) and the Neck disability index (NDI-DV ) will be applied.

Secondary study parameters / outcome of the study: Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain and SF36 (Quality of life). The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control(MHLC ), Credibility/Expectancy Questionnaire, Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ-DLV) will also be measured.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Neck Pain Other: Manual Therapy Utrecht Other: Physical Therapy Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Detailed information about Manual Therapy according to the Utrecht School Manual Therapy (MTU)

MTU is based on assessing the patient's individual preference of functioning by documenting and interpreting their natural asymmetry in anatomical form, posture and movements. The normal asymmetry and variability of human form and movement function have been specified. Asymmetrical forms can be related to the asymmetrical movement function.

In addition to the general diagnostics, MTU is characterized by specific diagnostics. By means of this specific manual-therapeutic analysis the individual preference of functioning model of the patient is drawn up through analysis and interpretation of the individual asymmetry in form, posture and movement. Some explanations of the measurements and movements are: (preferred) hand folding; (preferred) arm folding; which eye is master eye; leg use in (preferred) kicking of a ball. The purpose here is to describe the optimal direction and position of movement axes for all joints according to this model.

When composing this model, firstly the individual characteristics (a number of preferred movements, a number of asymmetrical aspects of posture and form) are assessed. Documentation, notation and interpretation of these characteristics take place according to a protocol.

The objective of MTU is to optimize the positioning of movement axes in the joints. To achieve this, three-dimensional movements in the joints are executed repeatedly. To purpose fully position the movement axes the therapist should (repeatedly) perform passive joint movements with low velocity and high accuracy. In addition to examining the individual preference of movement, exploratory examination is carried out to recognize possible red flags and to determine the treatment indication.

Treatment is based on preferred movements found in the patient and the interpretation according to the protocol of these movements and not on the complaint of the patient. It is executed by applying passive articular movements in the spinal joints and the joints of the extremities. During this process physiological joint limitations are carefully observed; traction or high-velocity movements will not be applied, as may be the case in other forms of manual therapy.

The diagnostic examination of other forms of manual therapy focuses on joint function, stability, movement patterns, range of movement, and the severity of disorders. To diagnose the patients complaints, palpation of passive accessory and passive intervertebral movements are used. The results yield information as to tenderness (pain), restricted intersegmental motion (stiffness), and spasm (muscle tension).

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 180 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effectiveness of Manual Therapy and Physical Therapy in Patients With Subacute and Chronic Non-specific Neck Pain. A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Study Start Date : September 2008
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 2013
Actual Study Completion Date : February 2014

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: 1 Manual Therapy Utrecht

Manual Therapy Utrecht (MTU) During the first consultation the manual therapist enquires about the complaints of the patient. The manual therapist conducts a number of measurements according to protocol. During treatment preferred movements are executed by the manual therapist in the patient's joints. The treatment techniques used by the manual therapist are very gentle mobilizations, without high velocity thrust techniques and are in general painless. In Manual Therapy Utrecht (MTU) it is common to give advices and recommend exercises.

A treatment session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes (repeated after one or two weeks). The maximum number of sessions is six.

The manual therapist has a minimum of five years of working experience.

Other: Manual Therapy Utrecht
Manual Therapy (6 weeks).
Other Names:
  • joint mobilisation and manipulation
  • exercise therapy with instruction

Active Comparator: 2 Physical Therapy - Exercise Therapy

The physical therapist conducts a complaint related function examination. Treatment consist of active exercises, manual traction or stretching and massage. The aims of active exercises are improvement of strength, mobility and movement coordination. Specific mobilization techniques are not a part of physiotherapeutic treatment. Treatment sessions take place no more than twice a week with a maximum of nine sessions (approximately 30 minutes) with a minimum of twenty minutes on active exercise therapy combined with instruction.

To prevent overlap with MTU (experimental arm), physical therapists are selected who are not (also) trained as manual therapists or have started this education.

The physical therapist has at least five years of working experience.

Other: Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy (six weeks).
Other Names:
  • exercise therapy with instruction
  • massagetherapy

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Global Perceived Effect (GPE), Neck disability index (NDI-DV ) [ Time Frame: 0-3-7-13-26-52 weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or Numeric Rating Scale (NRS)for pain and SF36 (Quality of life). Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), credibility/ expectancy, Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionaire (FABQ-DLV) [ Time Frame: 0-3-7-13-26-52 weeks ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with at least two weeks of neck pain
  • Last episode starts at a maximum of one year ago
  • Age between 18 and 70 years
  • Patient is willing to undergo the treatment
  • Neck pain is mechanical and can be provocated by movements or postures of the neck
  • Neck pain is the main problem to treat
  • Neck pain may also give pain in the upper arm or cervicogenic headaches

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Appearance of "red flags"
  • Cervical surgery in the past
  • Pregnancy
  • Whiplash trauma
  • Health conditions with may disturb the treatment or makes it impossible to undergo the treatment.
  • Not enough understanding of the Dutch questionnaires
  • Undergoing treatments like physical therapy, manual therapy, osteopathy, chiropraxis, acupuncture, other types of exercise therapy during the last three months

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00713843

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Dordrecht, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands, 3300 VB
Sponsors and Collaborators
Radboud University
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Study Chair: Rob Oostendorp, Prof. dr. UMC St Radboud, IQ healthcare, Nijmegen

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Rob Oostendorp, emeritus professor Allied Heath Sciences, Radboud University Identifier: NCT00713843     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: NL21128.091
First Posted: July 14, 2008    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 18, 2015
Last Verified: March 2015
Keywords provided by Rob Oostendorp, Radboud University:
Neck Pain
Manuel Therapy Utrecht
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Neck Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms