Over the years, we have helped many men and women in Oakleigh, VIC heal from chronic neck pain. This isn't surprising, 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 pain?
To answer this question, it's helpful to look back at an important study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The paper reviewed a variety of conservative therapies and concluded that manual therapy was the most cost-effective choice for neck pain.
Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in evaluating not only the costs associated with manual therapy but how successfully manual therapy delivered relief when 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).
People receiving manual therapy had the quickest improvement rate. After seven weeks of treatment, 68% of the MT group had recovered, as opposed to 51% of the PT group and 36% of the GP group. These differences in recovery 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 drugs, in addition to indirect costs like work absenteeism and travel time. The manual therapy group had substantially reduced 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 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 9 patients in the MT group reported missed work due to neck pain, compared to 12 in the PT group and 15 in the GP group.
The reduced cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using significantly less prescription drugs and needed fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less costly and more successful at relieving neck pain than physical therapy or care from a general practitioner.
Dr. Liveriadis has worked with many patients who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Oakleigh, VIC and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (03) 9579 2699 for an assessment.
Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.