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Spinal Manipulation, Home Exercise May Ease Neck Pain
Date:1/3/2012

ion might prove to be more effective than medications or home exercise therapy. To test their hypothesis, they recruited 272 people between the ages of 18 and 65 who had neck pain. Their neck pain had no known cause, such as a trauma or pinched nerve, and the patients been experiencing the pain for between two and 12 weeks when the study began.

The study volunteers were randomly selected for one of three treatment groups. One group received spinal manipulations over a 12-week period. Each individual was allowed to choose the number of spinal manipulations they felt they needed.

The second group received medications, both over the counter and prescription, depending on their needs. First-line medications included nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or acetaminophen (Tylenol). If people didn't get relief from these drugs, narcotic pain medications and muscle relaxants were offered.

The third group was assigned two one-hour sessions of home exercise. The goal of the home-exercise program was to improve movement in the neck area. Participants were instructed to do the exercises six to eight times per day.

At the 12th week, 82 percent of people receiving spinal manipulation reported at least a 50 percent reduction in pain, compared with 69 percent of those on medication and 77 percent doing home exercises. Also at week 12, of people receiving spinal manipulation, 32 percent reported feeling a 100 percent reduction in pain, compared with 13 percent on medications and 30 percent doing home exercises.

At one year, 27 percent of those receiving spinal manipulation said they felt a 100 percent reduction in pain versus 17 percent of those on medications and 37 percent of those doing home exercises.

"For me, as an ER doctor, this study offers an interesting perspective," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an attending physician in emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It's a small study, but it found that home exe
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