Over the years, we've helped many men and women in Midtown East, NY heal from chronic neck pain. This isn't unusual, as research demonstrates that chiropractic care leads to significant improvements for 94% of neck pain patients. But how does chiropractic contrast to other conservative therapies in the management of neck problems?
To answer this question, it's helpful to look back at an interesting study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The study investigated a variety of conservative treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most practical choice for neck pain.

Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in analyzing not only the costs related with manual therapy but how successfully manual therapy provided relief when compared to other treatments. They randomly assigned 183 patients with acute neck pain to receive treatment from manual therapists (MT), physiotherapists (PT), or general practitioners (GP).

Patients receiving manual therapy had the fastest recovery rate. After seven weeks of treatment, 68% of the MT group had recovered, as opposed to 51% of the PT group and 36% of the GP group. These variances in improvement rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks.

To calculate costs of treatments, the researchers considered direct costs such as visits to the healthcare provider and the costs of prescription medications, in addition to indirect costs like work absenteeism and travel time. The manual therapy group had substantially lower costs, with patients spending only a third of the costs spent by patients in the PT and GP groups. On average, manual therapy patients had approximately $611 in costs compared to $1773 in the physiotherapy group and $1885 in the general practitioner group (or 447 euros, 1297 euros, and 1379 euros, respectively). Only 9 patients in the MT group claimed missed work due to neck pain, compared to 12 in the PT group and 15 in the GP group.

The lowered cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using considerably less prescription medications and required fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less expensive and more successful at relieving neck pain than physiotherapy or care from a general practitioner.

Dr. Valente has worked with many patients who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Midtown East, NY and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (917) 338-7917 for an appointment.

Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.

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