Patients with typical neck pain may benefit from a physical therapy program that includes upper neck and upper back manipulation. Potential benefits include less pain, better neck motion, and improved ability to perform daily activities. Although this treatment was very successful for this group of patients with neck pain, it may not be effective or even appropriate for all patients with neck pain.
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation to help determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment, as part of a program designed to help get rid of the aching in your neck. The benefits in this study were only measured for the first 48 hours after treatment; further research is needed to determine long-term benefits.
Here are the nuts and bolts of the supportive research study that appeared in this month’s Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (2012;42(1):5-18. doi:10.2519/jospt.2012.3894).
In this study, James R. Dunning,DPT, MSc Manip Ther, FAAOMPT and fellow researchers treated 107 patients. About half of these patients received a manipulation of the neck, on the part closest to the head, and of the upper back. The other patients received manual therapy that mobilized the spine without using manipulation.
After 48 hours, the patients who received the manipulation treatment experienced a 58% decrease in pain and a 50% decrease in disability. By contrast, patients who received the mobilization treatment only had a 13% decrease in pain and actually showed a 13% increase in disability. In addition, the patients who received the manipulation had increased motion and improved control of their neck muscles compared to the patients in the mobilization group.
The researchers concluded that the combination of upper neck and back manipulation was more effective in the first 48 hours of treatment than the mobilization treatment.
Two of our physical therapists at Alpine Physical Therapy have studied extensively with Dr. James R. Dunning. To schedule an appointment and to get your neck feeling better quickly, you are invited to call our office at 406-251-2323.
Get more information on neck pain by visiting the patient resource section of our clinic website by clicking here.