Neck pain study

February 28, 2012 | Therapeutic exercises better than medication

Neck pain is common, from middle age suffers almost every now and then. Malpositions, strains, stress or misalignments of the spine and pelvis can trigger the painful muscular tension. For acute complaints are usually used painkillers, rarely chirotherapy or physiotherapy. A study funded by the National Institute of Health has now reviewed which treatment will best help with neck pain. With amazing results: the drug therapy was the least effective. With physiotherapeutic exercises, which the patient carries out independently according to instructions, neck pain can be effectively treated. The treatment with the chiropractor could not do more. "In practice, we experience again and again how quickly simple exercises can help to mobilize," confirms Ute Repschläger, chairman of the Federal Association of Independent Physiotherapists - IFK e. V. the study.

A prolonged inappropriate posture, abrupt head movements or emotional stress can cause neck pain. They are usually based on functional disorders of the musculature, z. B. tension. Usually they disappear after a few days. "But in many cases the symptoms return or become chronic," says Ute Repschläger. The study at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis (USA) is therefore investigating patients who have had nonspecific neck pain for two to twelve weeks and have been treated differently. They either received medication, were sent to the chiropractor, or received a two-hour physiotherapy session to independently mobilize the shoulder and neck area. The success of each twelve-week treatment was observed for one year. The physiotherapeutic exercises and the treatment with the chiropractor performed equally well at each point in time, whereas the sole drug therapy has helped the fewest patients.

The sooner exercises are integrated and everyday movements performed, the sooner the pain usually lasts. However, the instructions for therapeutic exercises are not always enough. Ute Repschläger: "Many complaints arise from a combination of several causes, eg. For example, from a slight malposition of the pelvis and muscular imbalances through the PC workstation. "Then the physiotherapist can combine various medically prescribed treatments. Possible are z. As physiotherapy, manual therapy, massages, equipment training or supplementary measures such as heat therapies, z. B. the "hot role".

National Association of Independent Physiotherapists - IFK e. V. For prevention, the guideline of the German Society of General Medicine and Family Medicine (DEGAM) recommends specific exercises in combination with endurance sports and muscle strengthening. "The stronger the muscular support and the better the neck muscles work together, the less susceptible they are to discomfort," says Ute Repschläger. In addition, relaxation procedures are suitable to compensate for mental stress.