Chronic neck pain, what is effective?


Non-specific chronic neck pain is abundant, and can have significant effects on people's lives, and is thought to be driven by psychosocial factors. The most common approach is a combination of manual therapy and specific therapeutic exercise, but understanding the intricacies of each approach is not fully understood.


A research project looked into manual therapy and therapeutic exercise as interventions for chronic neck pain. Manual therapy considered manipulative treatment, cervical mobilisations and Suboccipital muscle inhibition. Therapeutic exercise involved a three phase process, starting with activation and recruitment of deep cervical flexors, progressing to ultimately eccentric loading of cervical flexors and extensors.


Both manual therapy and therapeutic exercise produced statistically significant and clinically relevant results. Therapeutic exercise reduced cervical disability, and manual therapy reduced pain perception. It would be advised to employ both treatment modalities in a patient-centre approach to chronic neck pain.