Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, Hal Morgenstern, PhD, Philip Harber, MD, MPH, Gerald F. Kominski, PhD, Fei Yu, PhD, and Alan H. Adams, DC, MS
In this study, manipulation and mobilization techniques were compared in attempt to determine the most effective treatment for neck pain. Different variables such as the presence or absence of heat, and the presence or absence of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) were further combined with each treatment.
On average, for both treatment methods, a 65% reduction in neck pain was achieved by week 24, and roughly 50% pain improvements were experienced by week 6.
Those receiving heat therapy initially experienced a significant reduction in severe pain by the 2-week follow up appointment, however only a slightly better overall improvement long term in comparison to the other treatment variations.
Initially, the mobilization treatments resulted in slightly greater improvements in neck disability, average and severe pain levels; however by week 24 the results between manipulation and mobilization techniques were comparable.
Neither EMS nor heat alone, or in addition to either technique significantly improved outcomes. Heat application may however result in more rapid short-term improvements.
Summary by Skylar Urschel