Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck News

Finding the Right Treatment Combinations for Neck Pain

Neck pain is just as common as low back pain in Canada and the United States. There are many studies on low back pain, but very few on neck pain. Most of the studies only report short-term results (less than one year).

To help change this, a group of chiropractors and medical doctors placed 191 patients into three different treatment groups. The first group received spinal manipulation only. The second group received manipulation and exercise. The final group joined a rehab exercise program.

All three groups were followed for varying lengths of time. Surveys were given to all the patients to measure results at five and 11 weeks. These were repeated at three and six months, then at one and two years.

Patients in the two exercise groups reported less pain and greater satisfaction than those who had only spinal manipulation. The exercise groups also gained increased strength and range of motion. These changes were still present two years after treatment.

The authors of this study think there may be an advantage to exercise or manipulation and exercise combined as a treatment for neck pain. These treatments were compared to treatment with just spinal manipulation. This study also confirmed the results of other studies showing that supervised exercise is better than exercise alone at home.


Roni Evans, DC, MS, et al. Two-Year Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial of Spinal Manipulation and Two Types of Exercise for Patients With Chronic Neck Pain. In Spine. November 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 21. Pp. 2383-2389.

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