By Dr. Vic Weatherall
A study published in the May 21, 2002 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine1 concludes that in daily practice, manual therapy is a favourable treatment option for patients with neck pain compared with physical therapy or continued care by a general practitioner.
The study followed the treatment of 183 patients, aged 18 to 70, who had nonspecific neck pain of at least 2 weeks duration. Nonspecific neck pain is pain due to strain of the muscles and joints without serious problems such as broken bones or nerve involvement. The patients were randomly assigned to one of the three following treatment groups and treated for up to 6 weeks:
All patients were allowed to continue their medications and self-care previously prescribed by their medical doctors.
At the end of the study, researchers found that 68.3% of the manual therapy patients felt "much improved" or "completely recovered" compared with 50.8% in the physical therapy group and 35.9% in the medical doctor group.