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Chiropractic Most Economical Choice for Neck Pain

Over the years, we've helped many people in Parma, OH recover from chronic neck pain. This isn't unusual, as research demonstrates that chiropractic care leads to significant improvements for 94% of neck pain patients. But how does chiropractic compare to other conservative treatments 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 paper investigated a variety of conservative treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most practical alternative for neck pain.

Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in assessing not only the costs associated with manual therapy but how efficiently manual therapy provided relief when compared to other treatments. They randomly assigned 183 patients with acute neck pain to receive care from manual therapists, physiotherapists, or general practitioners.

Patients receiving manual therapy had the fastest recovery rate. After seven weeks of care, 68% of the manual therapy group had recovered, as opposed to 51% of the physiotherapy group and 36% of the general practitioner group. These variances in improvement rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks.

To calculate costs of treatments, the authors looked at 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 substantially lower costs, with patients spending only a third of the costs spent by patients in the physiotherapy and general practitioner 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 manual therapy group reported missed work due to neck pain, compared to 12 in the physiotherapy group and 15 in the general practitioner group.

The decreased cost likely stemmed from the fact that manual therapy patients were using significantly less prescription medications and required fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The researchers concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less expensive and more effective at relieving neck pain than physiotherapy or care from a general practitioner.

Dr. Baker  has worked with many patients who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Parma, OH and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (440) 888-6979 for a consultation.


Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.

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June 23, 2014
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Dr. Robb Baker