A popular but little-studied method of easing neck pain—by moving patients’ necks in specific ways—may be more effective than traditional physical therapy or physician’s care, according to WebMD. A new study shows manual therapy as practiced in the US by chiropractors, osteopaths, and some massage therapists, worked best at improving neck mobility and reducing pain.
Neck pain is a common health problem, especially among older adults, and affects around 15% of the population. Although a variety of therapies are used to treat the condition, few studies have compared their effectiveness. In this study, researchers compared three common treatments for neck pain in 183 patients with chronic neck pain: continued, routine care by a doctor, usually consisting of pain medications and rest; manual therapy; and physical therapy. Manual therapy consisted of a trained specialist manipulating the patient’s neck, while physical therapy involved use of a trained therapist who assisted the patient in performing a series of active exercises.
After seven weeks of treatment, 68% of the patients in the manual therapy group said they felt either completely recovered or much improved compared to 51% of the patients in the physical therapy group and 36% of the patients under their doctor’s care alone. ‘We found that manual therapy was more effective than continued care, and our results consistently favored manual therapy on almost all outcome measures,’ writes study author Jan Lucas Hoving, PhD, and colleagues from Cabrini Medical Centre in Victoria, Australia. Additionally, patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or doctor’s care.
At Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, we know that regular therapeutic bodywork is a powerful healer that contributes to managing your stress and building your resilience, to help you feel your best.