Consensus of potential modifiable prognostic factors for persistent pain after a first episode of nonspecific idiopathic, non-traumatic neck pain: results of nominal group and Delphi technique approach

Martine Verwoerd*, Harriet Wittink, Francois Maissan, Rob Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BackgroundIdentify and establish consensus regarding potential prognostic factors for the development of chronic pain after a first episode of idiopathic, non-traumatic neck pain.DesignThis study used two consensus group methods: a modified Nominal Group (m-NGT) and a Delphi Technique.MethodsThe goal of the m-NGT was to obtain and categorize a list of potential modifiable prognostic factors. These factors were presented to a multidisciplinary panel in a two-round Delphi survey, which was conducted between November 2018 and January 2020. The participants were asked whether factors identified are of prognostic value, whether these factors are modifiable, and how to measure these factors in clinical practice. Consensus was a priori defined as 70% agreement among participants.ResultsEighty-four factors were identified and grouped into seven categories during the expert meeting using the modified NGT. A workgroup reduced the list to 47 factors and grouped them into 12 categories. Of these factors, 26 were found to be potentially prognostic for chronification of neck pain (>70% agreement). Twenty-one out of these 26 factors were found to be potentially modifiable by physiotherapists based on a two-round Delphi survey.ConclusionBased on an expert meeting (m-NGT) and a two-round Delphi survey, our study documents consensus (>70%) on 26 prognostic factors. Twenty-one out of these 26 factors were found to be modifiable, and most factors were psychological in nature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number656
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020


  • Prognostic factors
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Idiopathic neck pain
  • Delphi survey

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