Exercises for Neck Pain

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 // Uncategorized

It is great when common problems can be treated with nonpharmacologic/nonsurgical treatments.  This summary from Journal Watch about an article in the current Annals of Internal Medicine deals with three different treatments for acute neck pain or neck pain that has been present for 2 to 12 weeks.

Spinal Manipulation, Home Exercise ‘Viable Treatment Options’ for Acute Neck Pain


Spinal manipulation is more effective than medication for improving acute neck pain, and home exercise might be as effective as spinal manipulation, according to an Annals of Internal Medicine study.




Some 270 adults with current, nonspecific neck pain lasting 2 to 12 weeks were randomized to 12 weeks of spinal manipulation (performed by chiropractors), medication (NSAIDs or acetaminophen, or both, as first-line treatment), or home exercise (following two instructional sessions). Patient-rated pain improved more with spinal manipulation than with medication both during treatment and at the 1-year follow-up. The researchers found “no important differences” between the spinal manipulation and exercise groups.




The researchers conclude that taken together with previous research, their findings suggest that spinal manipulation and home exercise with advice “both constitute viable treatment options for managing acute and subacute mechanical neck pain.”


Spinal manipulation has some potential side effects.  Injury to the arteries of the neck has been reported in patients who receive sudden thrusts to the neck.  For this reason, I have been reluctant to recommend these types of treatments to patients,

 Here is the Appendix of neck exercises.



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