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Exercise Effects on Neck Function Among F-15E Aircrew.
Lee MS, Briggs R, Scheirer V, Kearby G, Young BA. Exercise Effects on Neck Function Among F-15E Aircrew. Aerospace medicine and human performance. 2021 Oct 1; 92(10):815-824.
Neck pain (NP) is common among high performance aircrew, yet evidence remains insufficient to guide examination, treatment, and prevention. The purpose of this randomized pilot study was to collect baseline data for neck function for F-15E aircrew and determine efficacy and feasibility of two separate exercise protocols in measuring short-term outcomes of subjective and objective neck function in order to inform future study design. Randomized to either progressive (PRO) or general (GEN) exercise groups were 41 F-15E aircrew. Data collection occurred at baseline, 3 wk, and 3 mo. At baseline, 39% of the subjects reported current NP, 79.5% reported a history of NP attributed to flying, 12.8% reported being removed from flying duties due to NP, and 10% reported receiving medical care for NP. PRO and GEN group randomization showed similar baseline assessment data. Blinding was successful and exercise logs showed 31.6% compliance with prescribed exercise regimens. There were small but statistically significant increases in neck range of motion in both groups over the course of the study. Aircrew with current NP had significantly higher F-15E flight hours. This study supports the high prevalence of NP in aircrew, yet low frequency of seeking care for NP. Future studies to assess NP prevention and treatment in aircrew require an integrated approach that includes operational exercise policy and long-term data collection in flying units with dedicated resources for assessment and analysis. .