Fast Five Quiz: Test Yourself on Key Aspects of Neck Pain

James W. Pritchett, MD


December 15, 2017

Specific neck exercises for the management of chronic neck pain, including active activation of the deep neck muscles and dynamic strengthening, may significantly improve disability scores. Consistent evidence supports mobilization as an effective, noninvasive intervention for acute whiplash-associated disorders.

Many physicians believe that most patients with cervical radiculopathy respond well to nonsurgical treatment. In one study of patients with cervical spondylotic myeloradiculopathy, the short-term effects of surgery (eg, pain, weakness, sensory loss) were superior. However, at 1 year, no significant differences between surgically and nonsurgically treated groups were found.

Manipulation or manual therapy may offer some benefit in patients with acute or chronic neck pain. This therapy may be provided by an osteopathic physician (DO), a chiropractic physician (DC), an allopathic physician (MD), or physical therapist with appropriate training. Acupuncture may be beneficial for pain control and should be administered by an appropriately trained and certified provider.

Cervical strain without myeloradiculopathy or instability is not a condition requiring surgical intervention. Cervical myeloradiculopathy or instability, a possible complication of cervical strain, may require surgical intervention (eg, discectomy/fusion).

Bracing with a soft cervical collar may provide symptomatic relief. The collar does not immobilize the spine, it only reminds the patient not to move the neck. If use of a soft cervical collar is prolonged, it may result in worsening of strength, flexibility, and function.

For more on the treatment of neck pain, read here.


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