Hilla Sarig Bahat, Kate Croft, Courtney Carter, Anna Hoddinott, Elliot Sprecher, Julia Treleaven

May 2018, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1309 - 1323 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-017-5323-0

First Online: 10 October 2017


To evaluate short- and intermediate-term effects of kinematic training (KT) using virtual reality (VR) or laser in patients with chronic neck pain.


A randomised controlled trial with three arms (laser, VR, control) to post-intervention (N = 90), and two arms (laser or VR) continuing to 3 months follow-up. Home training intervention was provided during 4 weeks to VR and laser groups while control group waited.

Outcome measures

Primary outcome measures included neck disability index (NDI), global perceived effect (GPE), and cervical motion velocity (mean and peak). Secondary outcome measures included pain intensity (VAS), health status (EQ5D), kinesiophobia (TSK), range, smoothness, and accuracy of neck motion as measured by the neck VR system. Measures were taken at baseline, immediately post-training, and 3 months later.


Ninety patients with neck pain were randomised to the trial, of which 76 completed 1 month follow-up, and 56 the 3 months follow-up. Significant improvements were demonstrated in NDI and velocity with good effect sizes in intervention groups compared to control. No within-group changes were presented in the control group, compared to global improvements in intervention groups. Velocity significantly improved at both time points in both groups. NDI, VAS, EQ5D, TSK and accuracy significantly improved at both time points in VR and in laser at 3 months evaluation in all but TSK. GPE scores showed 74–84% of participants perceived improvement and/or were satisfied. Significant advantages to the VR group compared to laser were found in velocity, pain intensity, health status and accuracy at both time points.


The results support home kinematic training using VR or laser for improving disability, neck pain and kinematics in the short and intermediate term with an advantage to the VR group. The results provide directions for future research, use and development.

Trial registration


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