Over the years, Dr. Ernst has helped many people in Arlington, WA recover from chronic neck pain. This isn't surprising, as research demonstrates that chiropractic care leads to significant results for 94% of neck pain sufferers. But how does chiropractic measure up to other conservative treatments in the management of neck pain?
To answer this question, it's useful to look back at an important study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The paper investigated various conventional treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most economical alternative for neck pain.
Investigators from the Netherlands were interested in assessing not only the expenses related with manual therapy but exactly how successfully manual therapy delivered pain alleviation compared to other treatment options. They randomly assigned 183 patients who suffered from acute neck pain to receive care from manual therapists (MT), physiotherapists (PT), or general practitioners (GP).
The people receiving manual therapy had the fastest recovery rate. After seven weeks of care, 68% of the MT group had healed, compared 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 treatment methods, the researchers looked at direct costs such as appointments with the healthcare provider and the prices of prescription medications, together with secondary 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 those in the PT and GP groups. Generally, manual therapy patients had approximately $611 in costs as opposed to $1773 in the physiotherapy group and $1885 in the general practitioner group (or 447 euros, 1297 euros, and 1379 euros, respectively). Only nine patients in the MT group documented missed work because of neck pain, compared to twelve in the PT group and 15 in the GP group.
The decreased cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using substantially less prescription medications and required fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The researchers concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less costly and more effective at relieving neck pain than physical therapy or treatment from a general practitioner.
Dr. Ernst has worked with many people who have struggled with neck pain. If you live in Arlington, WA and would like to stop being affected by chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (360) 659-8464 for an appointment.