Physical Therapy Determined Most Effective Option to Relieve the “Pain in Your Neck”

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Director of Evidence In Motion (EIM) comments about importance of neck pain study.

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I encourage anyone suffering from pain to contact a physical therapist to learn how they can benefit from personalized physical therapy treatments.

According to new research led by Gert Bronfort, vice president of research at the Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies at Northwestern Health Sciences University, physical therapy spinal manipulation and home exercise treatments are found to be more effective in alleviating neck pain than medication. The data also reveals that the test group receiving medications for their pain fared the worst of all three groups represented in the study. Prior to this study, there was very little research to support which treatment was the most effective.

“Even though this is a small study the findings are significant,” states Evidence In Motion (EIM) Director Larry Benz DPT, ECS, OCS. “Evidence now exists that strongly suggests physical therapy is a viable option to medication for treating neck pain; this is exciting news for patients who suffer from what can be a debilitating condition.”    

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, included 272 volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 65, who suffered from neck pain for 2-12 weeks. The volunteers were divided into three groups: group one receiving spinal manipulation treatment, group two receiving medications, and group three receiving home exercise advice. All groups received their assigned treatments for a period of 12 weeks.

At the twelfth week, both non-medication groups reported substantially more pain relief than the medication group. 32 percent of the group representing spinal manipulation treatments and 30 percent of the home exercise group reported feeling a 100 percent reduction in pain. During the same 12-week treatment period, only 13 percent of the medication group reported that their neck pain had been completely alleviated.    

Results of the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, also reported that up to one year later, the groups receiving 12 weeks of spinal manipulation or home exercise treatments still reported less pain compared to those who had taken medication.

“The role a physical therapist can play in relieving neck pain is now irrefutable,” says Benz. “I encourage anyone suffering from pain to contact a physical therapist to learn how they can benefit from personalized physical therapy treatments.”

About Evidence In Motion (EIM):
Evidence in Motion (EIM) is an education and consultation company whose sole reason of existence is to elevate the physical therapy profession and the role of physical therapists in healthcare delivery. A strong dedication to fostering the creation and assimilation of an evidence-based practice culture within the physical therapy profession is a cornerstone of EIM’s mission. The EIM Team has implemented evidence-based practice treatment pathways in many facilities and aims to promote the global sharing of information and ideas, thus advancing evidence-based physical therapy practice, research and education around the world. EIM offers Continuing Education, Certification Tracks, Residencies, a Fellowship Program, a Musculoskeletal Transition DPT, and an Executive Program in Private Practice Management with optional Transition DPT. For more information, please visit You can also find EIM on Facebook and Twitter, @EIMTeam.


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Brooke McVeigh
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