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While proprioceptive functioning of the cervical extensor muscles has been proposed to be associated with chronic neck pain (NP), the mechanism by which such impairment might contribute to NP is not clear. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relevance of proprioception, extensor muscles size, and endurance to chronic NP. A total of 60 participants with (n = 30) or without (n = 30) chronic NP participated in this cross-sectional study. Joint repositioning error (JRE), ultrasonographic parameters of the cervical extensors, and clinical extensor endurance were assessed. Multivariate analysis of variance and logistic regression tests were used to compare the groups and test the predictive value of the dependent variables for chronic NP, respectively. Patients showed comparable JRE scores but smaller multifidus size and lower extensor endurance (Cohen d = 0.66 for both). JRE in the transverse plane (β = 1.20), multifidus muscle size (β = 0.02), and endurance (β = 0.99) were significant predictors for chronic NP odds ratio. The results found multifidus size as the most relevant factor to NP by showing both between-groups difference and considerable odds ratio. As JRE in transverse plane was not different between the groups and extensor endurance demonstrated minimal odds ratio, these 2 factors may be considered as less relevant to NP comparing multifidus muscle size.
Ghamkhar, Amiri Arimi, and Kahlaee are with the Department of Physical Therapy; Ghamkhar and Kahlaee are also with Rofeideh Rehabilitation Hospital; University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.