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Musculoskeletal neck disorders in thyroid cancer patients after thyroidectomy

Janet Rodríguez-Torres, Laura López-López, Irene Cabrera-Martos, Irene Torres-Sánchez, Araceli Ortíz-Rubio, Marie C Valenza
European Journal of Cancer Care 2019 April 23, : e13053
Thyroid cancer (TC) is the most common type of cancer in the endocrine system, and thyroidectomy is the preferred treatment. Complications associated are still common and 80% of patients complain of posterior neck pain. The aim of this study was to analyse the long-term musculoskeletal disorders in TC patients who had undergone thyroidectomy. An observational case-control study was carried out. Twenty-eight patients who had undergone thyroidectomy and 28 healthy control patients were included. Outcomes were collected 6 months after surgery and included: musculoskeletal neck disorders (neck range of movement, trigger points) and functional variables (pain intensity and disability). Significant differences were found between groups in flexion (p = 0.002) and extension (p = 0.005), with lower values in the thyroidectomy group. The number of trigger points was higher in the thyroidectomy group in both scalenes (p < 0.001), both sternocleidomastoids (p < 0.001), both upper trapezius (p = 0.005 and p = 0.008), right levator scapulae (p = 0.002) and both suboccipitalis (p = 0.002). Pain intensity (p < 0.001) and the Neck Outcome Scale subscales (p < 0.05) also presented significant differences. Thyroidectomy patients, 6 months after surgery, show a significant decrease in neck range of movement and an increase in the number of trigger points. They also show greater pain intensity and more disability.


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