A study published on August 24, 2012 in the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies showed that both chronic and acute neck pain respond to chiropractic care. The study, conducted using information from multiple chiropractic practices in Switzerland, was originally designed to see if there was a way to predict the outcomes to chiropractic care for people with either acute or chronic neck pain.
The authors of the study start off by explaining that neck pain is the second most common reason that people go to a chiropractor, behind back pain. They also report that several recent studies confirm the safety of chiropractic care, which the authors referred to in this study as Chiropractic SMT (spinal manipulative treatment).
In this study patients with neck pain of any duration, who had not received any chiropractic care for the previous three months were reviewed. Patients whose neck pain was less than 4 weeks in duration were classified as acute while those whose symptoms were longer than 12 weeks in duration were classified as chronic. A numerical rating scale (NRS) was used to rate neck pain with patients in this study to standardize results. Results were collected from the patients at the intervals of one week, one month and three months after starting care.
Of the 529 patients in this study, 274 were classified as acute, while 255 classified as chronic. At one week after the start of care the study records that 77.8% of the acute patients and 37.6% of the chronic patients reported that they were feeling significantly improved. At one month the study recorded that 86.6% of the acute patients and 62.4% of the chronic patients reported being improved. Finally at the 3 month check 84.3% of the acute patients and 70.1% of the chronic patients now stated that they were improved. Only 4% of the acute patients and 9% of the chronic patients said that they felt worse at the 3 month period.
The authors noted that their results did not show many ways to predict the overall outcomes of care in advance. However, as one would expect, those patients that showed earlier results were more likely to show positive results at the 90 day follow up. The researchers did report that the addition of either radiating pain or dizziness, in conjunction with neck pain, did not diminish the results that these patients achieved.