Do the key prognostic factors for non-specific neck pain have moderation effects? – A study protocol Academic Article uri icon


  • Neck pain is one of the common musculoskeletal conditions prevalent in the general population in Norway. Patients with neck pain, seek treatment from different health professionals such as general practitioners, physiotherapists, chiropractors and alternative medicine practitioners. The interventions for neck pain are typically provided in a primary care or specialised healthcare setting depending on the general practitioners' referral patterns. Clinicians are interested to know the various prognostic factors that can explain the recovery from neck pain. In order to know this, studies have explored and reported on a range of prognostic factors that contribute to the outcomes in patients with neck pain. This information is currently available only for neck pain following whiplash injury that has a traumatic origin. There is limited information on the role of prognostic factors specifically for non-specific neck pain without a traumatic episode. Moreover, there is a lack of data on whether there are interactions (moderation effects) between the prognostic factors. Therefore, we propose a hypothesis to elucidate whether the same set of prognostic factors found in neck pain associated with whiplash injuries are also identified in patients with neck pain without trauma. Additionally, we hypothesize that the association between a prognostic factor and the outcome variable (s) would be dependent on the third variable, thereby confirming the moderation effects. Clinicians could make informed decisions in the clinical management of neck pain with the knowledge of prognostic factors that explain the outcomes. It could also be used for the development of new interventions or for modifying the existing ones.

publication date

  • 2018