Physiotherapy management of neck pain


Neck pain is a serious public health problem throughout the world. Despite having a similar burden of disease to low back pain, there is potential for greater understanding of the most effective management of this disabling condition. 

In her Journal of Physiotherapy Invited Topical Review, Professor Arianne Verhagen outlines the current classification and recommended guidelines for physiotherapists on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with neck pain. A combination of manual therapy, exercise and education is the preferred evidence-based physiotherapy treatment. There is limited evidence for the benefits of massage and psychological treatment, with all other interventions lacking any clear evidence. 

Stratifying patients in either subgroups or based on their prognosis (prediction of recovery) might be useful in guiding physiotherapy management decisions. It is anticipated that future research will continue to refine the current recommendations, thereby influencing clinical practice, leading to even greater improvements in outcomes for patients.

For more information and to read the entire Invited Topical Review article, click here.

Arianne Verhagen is professor and head of department of the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Technology Sydney. Her main areas of interest are research in the neck pain area and diagnostic research, including systematic reviews.

This blog is a Physiotherapy Research Foundation (PRF) initiative supported by Pain Away Australia, Australia’s No. 1 joint & muscle spray, and cream topical pain relief brand containing arnica and naturally derived active ingredients, and partner of the PRF.