December 25, 2008
Physical therapy effective on neck pain
The American Physical Therapy Association is urging U.S. patients with musculoskeletal pain to consider treatment by a physical therapist.
Lead researcher and APTA spokesman Michael Walker says a 2007 survey indicated that more than one-third of the 32,000 U.S. adults, and nearly 12 percent of children, use alternative medicine -- with back and neck pain as the top reasons for treatment.
This study, demonstrating the efficacy of physical therapy for a condition as widespread as neck pain, is particularly relevant in today's challenging economic environment, Walker said in a statement.
Walker's study compared the effectiveness of a three-week program of manual physical therapy and exercise to a minimal intervention treatment approach for patients with neck pain.
Study participants consisted of 94 patients with a primary complaint of neck pain, of whom 62 percent also had radiating arm pain. Patients randomized to the manual physical therapy and exercise group received joint and soft-tissue mobilizations and manipulations to restore motion and decrease pain, followed by a standard home exercise program of chin tucks, neck strengthening and range-of-motion exercises.
Results show that manual physical therapy and exercise was significantly more effective in reducing mechanical neck pain and disability and increasing patient-perceived improvements during short- and long-term follow-ups.