, osteopaths, massage therapists, and
physical therapists sometimes use manual
Manual therapy is sometimes used for
neck pain. A review of multiple studies shows that
exercise and mobilization, either separate or used together, are likely to be
helpful in the treatment of nonspecific neck pain. (Pain is "nonspecific" when its cause isn't clear.) A combination of exercise and manual therapy is likely to work the best.1 And manual therapy may be better than medicine for relieving nonspecific neck pain.2
Manipulation is not recommended if you have nerve-related problems that are very severe or getting worse.
Before you try
manual therapy for neck pain, think about the following:
Do your research. Not all manual therapy is the same. And
there isn't a good way to tell what will be helpful and what won't. If you decide to try it,
talk to a couple of different manual therapy providers before you choose and get treated by one.
Binder A (2008). Neck pain, search date May 2007.
Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
Bronfort G, et al. (2012). Spinal manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for
acute and subacute neck pain:
A randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(1, Part 1): 1–10.
January 30, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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