Manual Therapy Works Best for Neck Pain

The above title comes from a May 6, 2002 Reuter's Health article reporting on a study published in the May issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. In this study Dr. Jan Lucas Hoving of Monash University in Victoria, Australia reports that what they called "Manual Therapy" included procedures performed by chiropractors. Other previous studies have shown that over 90% of what most studies call "Manual Therapy" are performed by doctors of chiropractic.

In this study, 183 patients with neck problems were given either "manual therapy" (as the study calls it), exercise therapy or they were told to continue routine care from their medical doctor, which included advice on home exercises and prescriptions for pain medication for a 6 week period. All patients were allowed to continue on any pain medication they had been taking.

The results showed that at the end of the study, about 68% of the "manual-therapy" patients said they were "completely recovered" or "much improved," according to the report. This was vastly better when compared with 51% of those on exercise therapy and 36% of patients who continued their medical care. The conclusion from the researcher was obvious when they said, "Manual therapy" seems to be a favorable treatment option for patients with neck pain."

It should be noted that the results obtained in this study would probably be less than would be expected under chiropractic care. "Manual Therapy" as delivered by untrained individuals can not be as precise or specific as chiropractic adjustments delivered by trained practitioners who perform adjustments on a daily basis.