Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute

Short-term effects of a functional cervical pillow on inpatients with neck discomfort: A randomized controlled trial



Sleeping posture is regarded to be strongly related with quality of sleep, with poor sleeping posture in­creasing biomechanical stress on the cervical spine. Prevalence of acute and chronic neck pain and discomfort is steadily increasing, and possibly entails poor sleep and consequent delayed recovery. A prospective randomized controlled trial in a Korean medicine hospital was conducted to assess effects of functional cervical pillows (FCPs) in inpatients with neck discomfort. Fifty patients with neck discomfort of visual analogue scale (VAS) ≥4 were re­cruited consecutively from inpatients admitted between June 15th and August 15th, 2014 and randomly allocated to 2 groups. The experimental group used FCPs and Korean medicine treatment, and the control group, general pil­lows (GPs) with the same treatment. Outcome measures included difference in neck discomfort VAS, neck disability index (NDI), Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), satisfaction with current neck state, and EuroQol-5 dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D) between baseline and discharge. Length of stay was similar in both groups (24.3±7.4 and 23.1±7.9 days, respectively). Difference in VAS between admission and discharge showed significant reduction in both groups (P<0.0001 and P=0.0177, respectively), but only FCP displayed significant decrease in NDI (P=0.002). Satisfaction rates and EQ-5D were favorable in both groups, but PSQI was not significant in either. Difference in VAS from admission to discharge between groups was -13.4 (95% CI: -26.2 to -0.6), favoring FCP, while that of NDI, PSQI, satisfaction rate and EQ-5D was non-significant. FCPs may be considered as complementary treatment for neck discomfort and functional recovery. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02240849. Registered 28 August 2014.