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Seven-Year Neck Pain Study Sheds Light on Best Care
Date:2/15/2008

er-checking when backing up a car," noted the study's lead author, Dr. David Cassidy, professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the University Health Network at Toronto Western Hospital.

For the minority of neck pain sufferers who experience Grade 3 neck pain -- that is neck pain accompanied by pain, weakness and/or numbness in the arm, also referred to as a "pinched nerve," corticosteroid injections may provide temporary relief says the study. Surgery is a last resort according to the findings and should only be considered if accompanying arm pain is persistent or if the person is experiencing Grade 4 pain due to serious injury or systemic disease.

Top findings for neck pain suffers:

-- Stay as active as you can, exercise and reduce mental stress.

-- Don't expect to find a single "cause" for your neck pain.

-- Be cautious of treatments that make "big" claims for relief of neck pain.

-- Trying a variety of therapies or combinations of therapies may be needed to find relief - see the therapies for which the Task Force found evidence of benefits.

-- Once you have experienced neck pain, it may come back or remain persistent.

-- Lengthy treatment is not associated with greater improvements; you should see improvement after 2-4 weeks, if the treatment is the right one for you.

-- There is relatively little research on what does or does not prevent neck pain; ergonomics, cervical pillows, postural improvements etc. may or may not help.

"This is an important body of research that will help to improve the quality of patient care by incorporating the best evidence into practice and patient education," says Dr. Carroll. "Neck pain can be a stubborn problem -- we hope this comprehensive analysis of the evidence will help both sufferers and health care providers better manage this widespread complaint."


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SOURCE The Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and ItsAssociated
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