If Your Neck Hurts, Visiting a Physical Therapist
Neck pain is a common problem. Studies show that 10% to 15% of adults are experiencing neck pain at any given time. The Annals of Internal Medicine
(May 21, 2002) published a study that compares people with neck pain
treated by physical therapists using two different approaches and
continued care by an MD over a seven-week period.
May Be the Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself!
"This is the one of the first definitive studies we’ve seen comparing
neck pain relief techniques,” says Kenneth A. Olson, PT, President of
the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. “As
physical therapists, we’ve seen mobility improve and pain decrease
substantially with individual patients treated with manual techniques
used in this study. Now we have scientific comparisons."
The group receiving focused, hands-on manual physical therapy techniques
of joint and muscle mobilization, along with postural muscle
strengthening-stabilization exercises, reported the greatest improvement
(68%). They used less medication and missed fewer days of work.
The group receiving exercise-focused physical therapy techniques of
stretching and strengthening with less hands-on techniques showed the
second most improvement (51%).
The group that only had follow-up visits with their general practitioner
(MD) and received medications, an educational booklet and encouragement
to “await further recovery” reported the least improvement (36%).
The research was done in The Netherlands at the Institute for Research
in Extramural Medicine, where manual therapy is known as a specialty
area of physical therapy.