I've been having neck pain off and on now for six months. I finally decided to do something about it. My first choice is a chiropractor I saw a couple of years ago. Can the chiropractor tell from the start if I'm going to have a good result?
You are asking about predictive factors of treatment for neck pain. And since you've had the pain for more than three months, it is considered chronic.
There are positive and negative prognostic predictors. These factors help guide the chiropractor when patients and choosing appropriate treatment for selected subgroups. So although there isn't a crystal ball exactly, there are some telltale signs to help guide the process.
For example, patients who have high levels of pain over a long period of time are more likely to have a poor prognosis. Likewise, those who have delayed treatment, who are older (40 years old and older), and who also have low back pain are at risk for a poor outcome.
But the good news is that there are positive predictors as well. The best predictor of a good result is short duration of symptoms. Other positive predictive factors include no morning pain, higher level of education, and less fatigue. Not being on sick-leave or Workers' comp also points to a favorable outcome.
Sidney M. Rubinstein, DC, MSc, et al. Predictors of a Favorable Outcome in Patients Treated by Chiropractors for Neck Pain. In Spine. June 1, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 13. Pp. 1451-1458.
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