Conservative Management of Mechanical NeckDisorders: A Systematic Review

School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The Journal of Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 3.19). 06/2007; 34(5):1083-102.
Source: PubMed


To determine if conservative treatments (manual therapies, physical medicine methods, medication, and patient education) relieved pain or improved function/disability, patient satisfaction, and global perceived effect in adults with acute, subacute, and chronic mechanical neck disorders (MND) by updating 11 systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCT).
Two independent authors selected studies, abstracted data, and assessed methodological quality from computerized databases. We calculated relative risks and standardized mean differences (SMD) when possible. In the absence of heterogeneity, we calculated pooled effect sizes.
We studied 88 unique RCT. The mean methodological quality scores were acceptable in 59% of the trials. We noted strong evidence of benefit for maintained pain reduction [pooled SMD -0.85 (95% CI -1.20, -0.50)], improvement in function, and positive global perceived effect favoring exercise plus mobilization/manipulation versus control for subacute/chronic MND. We found moderate evidence of longterm benefit for improved function favoring direct neck strengthening and stretching for chronic MND, and for high global perceived effect favoring vertigo exercises. We noted moderate evidence of no benefit for botulinium-A injection [pooled SMD -0.39 (95% CI -01.25, 0.47)]. We found many treatments demonstrating short-term effects.
Exercise combined with mobilization/manipulation, exercise alone, and intramuscular lidocaine for chronic MND; intravenous glucocorticoid for acute whiplash associated disorders; and low-level laser therapy demonstrated either intermediate or longterm benefits. Optimal dosage of effective techniques and prognostic indicators for responders to care should be explored in future research.


Available from: Ted Haines
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    • "Outcomes such as better pain reduction, better patient satisfaction, improved function, increased range of motion and increased strength in people with neck pain have been reported in patients who received manual therapy alone or in combination with other modalities [16,18-22]. While evidence exists for other interventions, the number of studies is few with conflicting results leading to less confidence in their effectiveness [16,23-25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical practice guidelines on the management of neck pain make recommendations to help practitioners optimize patient care. By examining the practice patterns of practitioners, adherence to CPGs or lack thereof, is demonstrated. Understanding utilization of various treatments by practitioners and comparing these patterns to that of recommended guidelines is important to identify gaps for knowledge translation and improve treatment regimens.Aim: To describe the utilization of interventions in patients with neck pain by clinicians. A cross-sectional international survey was conducted from February 2012 to March 2013 to determine physical medicine, complementary and alternative medicine utilization amongst 360 clinicians treating patients with neck pain. The survey was international (19 countries) with Canada having the largest response (38%). Results were analyzed by usage amongst physical therapists (38%) and chiropractors (31%) as they were the predominant respondents. Within these professions, respondents were male (41-66%) working in private practice (69-95%). Exercise and manual therapies were consistently (98-99%) used by both professions but tests of subgroup differences determined that physical therapists used exercise, orthoses and 'other' interventions more, while chiropractors used phototherapeutics more. However, phototherapeutics (65%), Orthoses/supportive devices (57%), mechanical traction (55%) and sonic therapies (54%) were not used by the majority of respondents. Thermal applications (73%) and acupuncture (46%) were the modalities used most commonly. Analysis of differences across the subtypes of neck pain indicated that respondents utilize treatments more often for chronic neck pain and whiplash conditions, followed by radiculopathy, acute neck pain and whiplash conditions, and facet joint dysfunction by diagnostic block. The higher rates of usage of some interventions were consistent with supporting evidence (e.g. manual therapy). However, there was moderate usage of a number of interventions that have limited support or conflicting evidence (e.g. ergonomics). This survey indicates that exercise and manual therapy are core treatments provided by chiropractors and physical therapists. Future research should address gaps in evidence associated with variable practice patterns and knowledge translation to reduce usage of some interventions that have been shown to be ineffective.
    Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 03/2014; 22(1):11. DOI:10.1186/2045-709X-22-11
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    • "Some prior reviews maintained that there was inconclusive evidence on effects of MT for neck pain [8–11], but the others suggested that MT had immediate effects for neck pain [12, 13]. In addition, most reviews did not include Chinese randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of MT for neck pain due to language barrier or limited retrieving resources [8, 9, 11, 12]. But Chinese MT, as one of the primitive complementary and alternative treatments, has been employed by most Chinese patients with neck pain, and a mass of studies have been reported [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. To systematically evaluate the evidence of whether massage therapy (MT) is effective for neck pain. Methods. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified through searches of 5 English and Chinese databases (to December 2012). The search terms included neck pain, neck disorders, cervical vertebrae, massage, manual therapy, Tuina, and random. In addition, we performed hand searches at the library of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Two reviewers independently abstracted data and assessed the methodological quality of RCTs by PEDro scale. And the meta-analyses of improvements on pain and neck-related function were conducted. Results. Fifteen RCTs met inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis showed that MT experienced better immediate effects on pain relief compared with inactive therapies (n = 153; standardised mean difference (SMD), 1.30; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.09 to 2.50; P = 0.03) and traditional Chinese medicine (n = 125; SMD, 0.73; 95% CI 0.13 to 1.33; P = 0.02). There was no valid evidence of MT on improving dysfunction. With regard to follow-up effects, there was not enough evidence of MT for neck pain. Conclusions. This systematic review found moderate evidence of MT on improving pain in patients with neck pain compared with inactive therapies and limited evidence compared with traditional Chinese medicine. There were no valid lines of evidence of MT on improving dysfunction. High quality RCTs are urgently needed to confirm these results and continue to compare MT with other active therapies for neck pain.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 02/2014; 2014(12):204360. DOI:10.1155/2014/204360 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Occasionally physical therapists are approached by the media to comment on cervical manipulation and its associated risks. Key points are provided to support a response, and key references are recommended (Bronfort et al, 2004; Rubinstein et al, 2005; Gross et al, 2007; IFOMPT, 2008; Kerry et al, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: A consensus clinical reasoning framework for best practice for the examination of the cervical spine region has been developed through an iterative consultative process with experts and manual physical therapy organisations. The framework was approved by the 22 member countries of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (October 2012). The purpose of the framework is to provide guidance to clinicians for the assessment of the cervical region for potential of Cervical Arterial Dysfunction in advance of planned management (inclusive of manual therapy and exercise interventions). The best, most recent scientific evidence is combined with international expert opinion, and is presented with the intention to be informative, but not prescriptive; and therefore as an aid to the clinician's clinical reasoning. Important underlying principles of the framework are that 1] although presentations and adverse events of Cervical Arterial Dysfunction are rare, it is a potentially serious condition and needs to be considered in musculoskeletal assessment; 2] manual therapists cannot rely on the results of one clinical test to draw conclusions as to the presence or risk of Cervical Arterial Dysfunction; and 3] a clinically reasoned understanding of the patient’s presentation, including a risk:benefit analysis, following an informed, planned and individualised assessment, is essential for recognition of this condition and for safe manual therapy practice in the cervical region. Clinicians should also be cognisant of jurisdictionally specific requirements and obligations, particularly related to patient informed consent, when intending to use manual therapy in the cervical region.
    Manual Therapy 11/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.math.2013.11.005 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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