Neck pain is one of the most common conditions affecting both men and women. Since it has a tendency to occur to almost anyone, more and more people are trying to find the best way of treating it without too much pain in the pocket. Although neck pain is not life threatening, it causes stiffness and pain often unbearable; thus leaving patients with no choice but to seek help from healthcare resources. This situation also prevents them from doing their normal activities such as going to work and attending their regular social functions.
This is the reason why a randomized controlled trial economic evaluation is completed; aimed to assess the cost effectiveness of manual therapy, physiotherapy, and care by a general practitioner for those with neck pain. This trial evaluation is composed of 183 patients who have been experiencing neck pain for at least 2 weeks recruited by 42 general practitioners; then randomly allocated to manual therapy, physiotherapy, and general practitioner care.
According to the trial, the manual therapy group showed faster improvement compared to those in the physiotherapy group together with those in general practitioner care group. This improvement lasted for up to 26 weeks. However, differences were negligible by follow-up at 52 weeks. Similarly, the total costs of manual therapy were around 1/3 of the costs of general and physiotherapy care. The cost utility ratios and the cost effectiveness ratios showed that manual therapy was more effective and less costly than the care of general practitioner or by physiotherapy.
Systematic reviews made for trials on conservative treatments for acute, sub acute, and chronic neck pain resulted little evidence of one treatment being more effective over the other. Some evidences showed that staying active can be very beneficial. Regular active exercises are more effective compared to passive modalities such as heat, traction, and massage. The series of trials conducted on neck pain differ in methodological quality, interventions, study populations, reference treatments, and outcome measures which lead the reviewers to conclude that no one type of treatment can be favored over the others.
The economic evaluation made alongside the pragmatic randomized controlled trial showed manual therapy to be more cost effective compared to physiotherapy and continued care provided by general practitioner for the treatment of non-specific neck pain. The statistical method of analysis used in this study is through bootstrapping. Bootstrap methods are not necessarily better than those of conventional methods but they allow a direct appreciation of probable phenomena. These methods are intended to simplify the calculation of statistical inferences even in conditions much more complicated than the present study.
Since neck pain is something that can be treated or avoided, people now have more options to choose the most appropriate treatment method that will suit their needs as well as their budget. Having these options is a clear indication that neck pain should not stop them from living their lives to the fullest and do their usual activities.
Filed under: chiropractic care
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