Over the years, we've helped many men and women in Florham Park, NJ recover from persistent neck pain. This isn't unexpected, as research shows 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 important study from 2003 printed in the British Medical Journal. The research compared various conservative treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most economical alternative for neck pain.
Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in evaluating not only the costs related with manual therapy but how efficiently manual therapy delivered relief compared to other treatments. They randomly assigned 183 patients with acute neck pain to receive care from manual therapists (MT), physiotherapists (PT), or general practitioners (GP).
Patients receiving manual therapy had the speediest improvement rate. After seven weeks of treatment, 68% of the MT group had recovered, compared to 51% of the PT group and 36% of the GP group. These differences in improvement rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks.
To compute 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 significantly 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 roughly $611 in costs compared to $1773 in the physiotherapy group and $1885 in the general practitioner group (or €447, €1297, and €1379, respectively). Only nine patients in the MT group documented 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 substantially less prescription drugs and required fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less costly and more effective at treating neck pain than physical therapy or care from a general practitioner.
Dr. Rivano has worked with many patients who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Florham Park, NJ and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (973) 845-6282 for an appointment.
Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.