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Anneli Peolsson


On leave of absence 2023. My research is about rehabilitation for neck pain and about structure and behaviour of the neck muscles with the future goal to improve rehabilitation for those individuals that have neck pain.

Neck Pain Rehabilitation and Neck Muscle Structure and Behaviour

My research is about rehabilitation for neck pain and about structure and behaviour of the neck muscles with the future goal to improve the rehabilitation for those individuals that have neck pain (a common problem with a life time prevalence of about two thirds of the population).

Kvinna som håller om en smärtande nacke.

I am a Professor, Specialist in Physiotherapy in Orthopaedics at the division of Physiotherapy and a Principal of postgraduate studies at the Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences. I have worked at Linköping University with research and education since 1996. Before becoming employed at the University I worked as a physiotherapist, mainly with outpatient care for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders and at the Spine clinic, the University hospital in Linköping.

As an educator I am mainly involved in the higher semesters at the physiotherapy programme and in physiotherapy courses at advanced levels, mainly in the field of orthopaedics, manual therapy, exercise therapy and science. I am also the main and co-tutor for PhD students, master students and bachelor students.

About me


2013 Higher-level Associate Professor, Linköping University
2008 Associate Professor/Reader, Linköping University
2002 Doctor of Philosophy in the subject area of Caring Sciences, esp. Physiotherapy Science, Linköping University
1999 Specialist in Physiotherapy in Orthopaedics
1996 Master of Medical Science in Physiotherapy 1996, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
1996 Exam in orthopaedic manual therapy (OMT 2)
1989 University Certificate in Physical Therapy, Linköping University

Publications/ Conference contributions:

More than 50 papers accepted or published in the field of rehabilitation and more than 100 scientific conference contributions/presentations. (Länk till Research Gate)

Guest researcher and collaborations:

  • Rehabilitation Sciences, NHMRC CCRE (Spinal Pain, Injury and Health), University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. June 2012 until July 2013 (visited Professor Gwendolen Jull and co-workers: Shaun O´Leary, Julia Treleaven, Venerina Johnston and co-workers).
  • Post-doc position from the Swedish Research Council 2009-2013
  • I have a well-developed research networks locally, nationally and internationally.


  • Member of the Editorial Board in SPINE since 2011.
  • Continuously invited to be a reviewer in eg. Spine and Manual Therapy
  • External expert during appointment of Senior University Lectures and Associate Professors and have been an opponent at dissertation.

Research Funding as a main applicant

  • Swedish Research Council: 5 192 000 SEK,  6 000 000 SEK and 2 300 000 SEK
  • The Swedish Insurance office: 4 500 000 SEK (REHSAM II)
  • Other funding from forskningsrådet i Östergötland, region Östergötland, Lions, Wennergrenstiftelsen, Svenska läkaresällskapet, Socialstyrelsen

Supervisor for PhD-students

  • Jard Svensson
  • Mireille Rydén


  • Anette Karlsson, IMT

Former PhD-students:

  • Anna Hermansen, Physiotherapy
  • Johanna Wibault, Physiotherapy
  • Petra Dannapfel, Community Medicine
  • Gunnel Peterson, Physiotherapy
  • Maria Landén Ludvigsson, Physiotherapy

Field of Teaching

Teaching at the Physiotherapy program: lectures, seminars and examinations primarily in the higher semesters/courses of the physiotherapy-program and in courses at advanced levels mainly in the field of orthopedics, manual therapy, exercise therapy and science.
Supervision of bachelor- and masters degree-projects.
Tutoring of PhD students



Anneli Peolsson, Håkan Löfgren, Asa Dedering, Mattias Kristedal, Birgitta Öberg, Peter Zsigmond, Johanna Wibault (2023) Neurological outcomes after surgery and postoperative rehabilitation for cervical radiculopathy due to disc disease: a 2-year-follow-up of a randomized clinical trial Scientific Reports, Vol. 13, Article 3830 Continue to DOI
Gunnel Peterson, Anneli Peolsson (2023) Efficacy of Neck-Specific Exercise With Internet Support Versus Neck-Specific Exercise at a Physiotherapy Clinic in Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorders: Multicenter Randomized Controlled Noninferiority Trial Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 25, Article e43888 Continue to DOI
Anna Hermansen, Rune Hedlund, Peter Zsigmond, Anneli Peolsson (2023) A more than 20-year follow-up of pain and disability after anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery for degenerative disc disease and comparisons between two surgical techniques BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Vol. 24, Article 406 Continue to DOI
Emma Nilsing Strid, Frida Gustafson, Anneli Peolsson, Anna Hermansen (2023) Physiotherapists experiences of internet-based neck-specific exercises for patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorders DIGITAL HEALTH, Vol. 9, Article 20552076231159181 Continue to DOI
Nils Lund, Olof Dahlqvist Leinhard, James M Elliott, Gunnel Peterson, Magnus Borga, Peter Zsigmond, Anette Karlsson, Anneli Peolsson (2023) Fatty infiltrate and neck muscle volume in individuals with chronic whiplash associated disorders compared to healthy controls - a cross sectional case-control study BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Vol. 24, Article 181 Continue to DOI


Current research

Rehabilitation after surgery for cervical disc disease 

Randomized controlled trial for rehabilitation after cervical spine surgery for cervical disc disease.
Dissertation: Clinical and patient-reported outcomes after anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery: A focus on functioning and daily life

"The Swedish Neck Study"

Outcome in cervical radiculopathy patients after physiotherapy alone compared with anterior surgery followed by physiotherapy: a prospective randomized study with a 2-year follow-up.

Long-term Follow-up of function after anterior cervical spine surgery for cervical disc disease

Cervical Radiculopathy 

  • Neck-specific training with a cognitive behavioural approach compared with prescribed physical activity in patients with cervical radiculopathy: a protocol of a prospective randomised clinical trial. In cooperation with Åsa Dedering Karolinska University hospital.Publication:     
  • Effects of neck-specific exercise with or without a behavioural approach in addition to prescribed physical activity for individuals with chronic whiplash-associated disorders: a prospective randomised study. Publication:

Neck Muscle Activation

  • Experimental studies of neck muscle activation measured with ultrasonography in individuals with whiplash associated disorders, cervical radiculopathy and neck healthy.
  • Experimental studies of neck muscle activation (ultrasonography) in different training exercises for the neck.

Whiplash associated disorders

Experimental study investigating fatty infiltration, cross-sectional area and volume of neck muscles in individuals with a whiplash associated disorders compared with healthy individuals.

Experimental neck pain influence on head repositioning accuracy

In cooperation with Aalborg University Denmark.


Studies of research use and implementation of scientific knowledge among physiotherapists.

Neck specific exercise program for patients with chronic whiplash disorder

Stående rotation med gummiband.

This exercise program was used in a randomized studie comparing different exercise programs for people with chronic whiplash disorder.

Contributors: Anneli Peolsson, Gunnel Peterson, Maria Landén Ludvigsson

LINK: To the exercise program

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