Gomez Advanced Wellness Center

Chiropractic care Most Cost-Effective Option for Neck Pain

Over the years, we've helped many people in Charlotte, NC heal from persistent neck pain. This isn't surprising, as research shows that chiropractic care leads to significant improvements for 94% of neck pain patients. But how does chiropractic compare to other conservative treatments in the management of neck pain?

To answer that question, it's helpful to look back at an interesting study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The study compared various conservative treatments and concluded that manual therapy was the most cost-effective option for neck pain.

Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in analyzing not only the costs associated with manual therapy but how successfully manual therapy delivered relief when compared to other treatments. They randomly assigned 183 patients with acute neck pain to receive treatment from manual therapists (MT), physiotherapists (PT), or general practitioners (GP).

Patients receiving manual therapy had the speediest recovery rate. After seven weeks of treatment, 68% of the MT group had recovered, compared to 51% of the PT group and 36% of the GP group. These differences in improvement rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks.

To compute costs of treatments, the researchers looked at direct costs such as visits to the healthcare provider and the costs of prescription drugs, in addition to indirect costs like work absenteeism and travel time. The manual therapy group had substantially reduced costs, with patients spending only a third of the costs spent by patients in the PT and GP groups. On average, manual therapy patients had roughly $611 in costs as opposed to $1773 in the physiotherapy group and $1885 in the general practitioner group (or 447 euros, 1297 euros, and 1379 euros, respectively). Only nine patients in the MT group documented missed work due to neck pain, compared to 12 in the PT group and 15 in the GP group.

The decreased cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using substantially less prescription drugs and needed fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy, specifically spinal mobilization, is less expensive and more effective at treating neck pain than physical therapy or treatment from a general practitioner.

Dr. Gomez has worked with many patients, adults and children alike, who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Charlotte, NC and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (704) 377-0800 for an assessment.


Reference: Korthals-de Bos IB, et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner. British Medical Journal 2003;326:911.