Neck pain: exercise therapy is the way forward, says review of the evidence

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neck pain, exercise therapy, neck pain exercises, physiotherapy, arthritis digest, arthritis magazinePhysiotherapy may be an unnecessary addition to exercise therapy when it comes to treating neck pain, says research published in Musculoskeletal Science and Practice.

An analysis of grade I-II neck pain treatments shows that providing forms of manual treatment along with exercise therapy doesn’t seem to make a difference. Exercise therapy alone appears to result in the same benefits as manual treatment combined with exercise therapy.

Manual therapies include mobilising and manipulating joints and massage. Exercise therapy comprises training exercises that the patient carries out in consultation with the therapist.

“We didn’t find any additional benefits for pain intensity, function or quality of life from manual treatments,” says Ken Fredin, who led the review. “Our study says nothing about the effects of manual therapies on their own. We’ve only looked at whether manual treatments have any effect when combined with exercise therapy.”

Prescribing manual treatments in addition to exercise therapy may have little point. The discovery should help cut expenses and reduce waiting times.

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