Comparison of the effectiveness of resistance training in women with chronic computer-related neck pain: a randomized controlled study

  • Xiao Li
  • Caina Lin
  • Cuicui Liu
  • Songjian Ke
  • Qing Wan
  • Haijie Luo
  • Zhuxi Huang
  • Wenjun Xin
  • Chao MaEmail author
  • Shaoling WuEmail author
Original Article



Chronic computer-related neck pain is common among office workers. Studies have proposed neck strengthening exercise as a therapy to pain relieving and function improvement. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of different loading resistance trainings and we hypothesized that women with work-related neck pain could benefit more from progressive resistance training for pain and function recovery.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted and subjects characterized by monotonous jobs were recruited. One hundred and nine employed women with chronic neck pain were randomly allocated into three groups, namely, progressive resistance training (PRT), fixed resistance training (FRT), and control group (CG). In PRT and FRT, four exercises for neck muscles with an elastic rubber band were performed on regular basis for 6 weeks. The therapeutic effectiveness was then evaluated at pretreatment, 2, 4, and 6 weeks during training period, and 3-month posttreatment. Assessment tools included visual analog scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), pressure pain threshold (PPT), and maximal isometric neck strength.


The outcomes were significantly better in PRT and FRT than those in CG at 6-week timepoint and 3-month follow-up (p = 0.000), in terms of VAS, NDI, PPT, and neck muscle strength. Besides, there were statistically significant decreases observed in VAS scores of PRT group compared with those in FRT at 4-, 6-week timepoints, and 3-month follow-up (p < 0.05).


The neck resistance training was an effective method for pain relieving, mobility improving, pain threshold, and neck muscle strength enhancing in women with chronic computer-related neck pain. Thus, our study provided evidence that women with work-related neck pain might benefit more from PRT, which may have important implications for future clinical practice.

Trial registration

The study was qualified and registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry as ChiCTR-TRC-12002723.


Chronic computer-related neck pain Resistance training Women Progressive 



This work was funded by the Grant of National Science Foundation of China (81171469 and 81671088).

Author contributions

XL and CL designed the experiment and drafted the manuscript; CL analysed and interpreted of data; SK and QW were responsible for evaluation; HL and ZH were in charge of training; WX collected the follow-up data; and CM and SW conceived of the study and participated in its design and coordination. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao Li
    • 1
  • Caina Lin
    • 1
  • Cuicui Liu
    • 1
  • Songjian Ke
    • 1
  • Qing Wan
    • 1
  • Haijie Luo
    • 1
  • Zhuxi Huang
    • 1
  • Wenjun Xin
    • 2
  • Chao Ma
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shaoling Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Pain Treatment Centre, Sun Yat-sen Memorial HospitalSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Pain Research Center, Guangdong Province Key Laboratory of Brain Function and Disease, Zhongshan Medical SchoolSun Yet-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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