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Resistance Exercise vs Trapezius Massage in Chronic Neck Pain


Clinical trial shows both resistance exercise and trapezius massage are effective in treating chronic neck pain

Are you tired of dealing with chronic neck pain? You're not alone. The prevalence of neck pain over 12 months is 30% to 50%, and the prevalence of activity-limiting neck pain is 11% in the general population. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate this discomfort.
A clinical trial has compared the cervical and scapula-focused resistance exercise program (CSRE) with trapezius massage in patients with chronic neck pain.

Neck pain (NP) is a disorder that affects individuals and society worldwide. Poor physical condition, as well as a lack of exercise, can be possible causes of NP development because of poor posture. If the NP persists for more than 3 months, it is considered chronic NP (CNP). It can lead to neuromuscular dysfunction, decreased cervical mobility, and reduced quality of life.

The trapezius muscle is involved in many activities related to the high prevalence of NP. It has a supporting and stabilizing function on the movement of the upper extremities. A trapezius massage is a proven therapy for relieving chronic pain. Alternatively, cervical and scapula-focused resistance exercises have also been proposed as options for relieving CNP, but the clinical data on their effectiveness is limited.

Clinical Trial

A clinical trial compared the effectiveness of two treatments for chronic neck pain: a cervical and scapula-focused resistance exercise program vs. trapezius massage.

The trial involved 41 patients with chronic neck pain. They were divided into two groups: the exercise group and the massage group.

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The exercise group followed a specific resistance exercise program that targeted the cervical and scapula regions of the neck. Participants were instructed to perform the exercises five times a week, for four weeks. Alternatively, the participants of the massage group received trapezius massage five times a week, for four weeks.

The neck pain score, cervical range of motion, trapezius muscle tone, and stiffness were measured after the treatment period.


The results of the clinical trial showed that the CSRE program and trapezius massage were equally effective in reducing neck pain. After the 4-week intervention, both groups showed significant differences in pain, cervical range of motion, upper trapezius tone, disability level, and quality of life compared with those at baseline.


Overall, this clinical trial provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of different treatment options for chronic neck pain. It suggests that the CSRE program and trapezius massage may both be effective for relieving chronic neck pain.

If you're struggling with neck pain, consider talking to your healthcare provider about incorporating a cervical and scapula-focused resistance exercise program into your treatment plan.

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.