A study published in the British Medical Journal BMJ suggests that a semi-hard collar or physiotherapy / physical therapy was found to be more effective than a ‘wait and see’ approach to care for radiating neck pain. The study was a randomized trial of 205 patients with early onset radiculopathy and was held in three Dutch hospitals.
The patients were in one of three groups, all of whom were allowed to use painkillers:
1) wore a semi-hard collar for 3-6 weeks
2) physiotherapy with home exercises for 6 weeks
3) wait and see
Physiotherapy treatment consisted primarily of mobilising and stabilising the cervical spine using ‘hands-off’ methods.
The recommedation coming out of the study was to choose the semi-hard collar over physiotherapy / physical therapy treatment as these two options both offered significantly better results than the wait and see policy for pain reduction but the collar was less expensive than the physiotherapy treatments. The study only looked at short term pain relief; it would be interesting to see what the more long term effects would be. It would also be interesting to see if a ‘hands-on’ physical therapy approach would produce even greater benefits to the patients.
See the fully study here.
Published 7 October 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b3883
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net