Over the years, we've helped many men and women in West Seattle, WA heal 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 therapies in the management of neck pain?
To answer this question, it's useful to look back at an important study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The paper investigated various conservative treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most cost-effective option for neck pain.
Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in analyzing not only the costs associated with manual therapy but how successfully manual therapy delivered relief 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). Patients receiving manual therapy had the fastest improvement rate. After seven weeks of care, 68% of the MT group had recovered, compared to 51% of the PT group and 36% of the GP group.
These differences in improvement rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks. To calculate costs of treatments, the researchers considered 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 significantly 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 nine patients in the MT group claimed missed work due to neck pain, compared to 12 in the PT group and 15 in the GP group.
The lowered cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using significantly less prescription medications and required fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy, particularly spinal mobilization, is less costly and more successful at relieving neck pain than physiotherapy or care from a general practitioner.
Dr. Adkins has worked with many people who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in West Seattle, WA and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (206) 258-4886 for a consultation.
Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.