Pain in the neck—there is hope!

Neck pain affects more than 70% of Americans in their life time.  What treatment offers the best outcome: Drugs, spinal manipulation or neck and shoulder exercises? In a superb randomized control study in published Annals of Internal Medicine with 272 patients with acute and subacute neck pain, a few instructional sessions in home exercise with advise or twelve sessions of spinal adjustment was significantly more effective in the short or long term.

From a psychophysiological perspective, becoming aware of the covert neck and shoulder tension, identifying “who or what is the pain in the neck” (the neck and shoulders often reflect emotions), resolving emotional conflicts, practicing many movement and relaxation breaks during the days, and learning to relax the neck and shoulders with or without biofeedback can usually reduce neck and shoulder pains.

Even more impressive is the work by David Hubbard, MD and Richard Gevirtz, PhD. They have demonstrated that whiplash injury can healed very quickly by watching a 12 minute video in the emergency room and practicing simple neck and shoulder exercises, diaphragmatic breathing,  and possible use of biofeedback. It reduces symptoms and medical utilization by more than 80% as compared to the patients who did not see the video.