INTRODUCTION: Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal disorder worldwide. It can result in significant disability and impaired quality of life. More than 50% of patients with neck pain still report symptoms 1 year later despite receiving different forms of non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment. Identifying patient characteristics that are modifiable or predict recovery and non-recovery for an individual patient might identify ways of improving outcomes. This systematic review aims to comprehensively summarise the existing evidence regarding baseline patient characteristics associated with recovery and non-recovery, as defined by measures of pain intensity, disability and global perceived improvement. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Six electronic databases, PubMed, CINAHL, PEDro Database, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Web of Science, will be searched, with terms related to the review question such as neck pain, prognostic or predictive research, from inception to 28 September of 2018. Studies will be included if they have investigated an association between patient characteristics and outcomes, with at least one follow-up time point. Two independent reviewers will screen the titles and abstracts followed by a full-text review to assess papers regarding their eligibility. Data from included papers will be extracted using standardised forms, including study and participants' characteristics, outcomes, prognostic factors and effect size of the association. The risk of bias of each study will be assessed using the Quality in Prognostic Studies tool. A narrative synthesis will be conducted considering the strength, consistency of results and the methodological quality. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This systematic review does not require ethical approval. The results will be disseminated through publication in a peer-review journal, as a chapter of a doctoral thesis and through presentations at national and international conferences. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42018091183.
- non-specific neck pain
- prognostic factors