Manual Therapy for Neck Pain

Pro Rehab doctors of chiropractic often approach neck pain with manual therapy as the primary form of treatment. However, there are several types of manual therapy, including high velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust manipulation; mobilization; and/or soft tissue techniques. Is one type of manual therapy superior when it comes to managing neck pain? What does the research show? A 2017 systematic review of 23 randomized controlled trials compared various manual therapy techniques on their own (or combined), with or without the addition of specific exercise recommendations.

For acute (recent onset) to sub-acute neck pain, the review concluded:

For chronic neck pain, the data show:

           This systematic review favors all types of manual therapies for the management of all stages of neck pain (acute, sub-acute, chronic), especially when combined with exercise. The data also suggests the incorporating treatment of the mid-back may lead to better outcomes.

While manual therapies in general can benefit the neck pain patient, the approach a Pro Rehab doctor of chiropractic takes will depend on the patient’s unique case (based on patient history and exam findings) and preferences. For example, a patient may prefer a gentle, low force technique or their chiropractor may use a combination of manual therapy techniques. Additionally, care may also include nutritional/dietary recommendations or physical modalities.

Author
Dr. James Sheehan Dr. James Sheehan is an expert in the treatment of neck and back pain.

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