Neck pain is a common condition affecting up to 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, without treatment neck pain can become recurrent in nature. In our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics we treat neck pain with a combination of manual therapy, exercise, and education. Treatment by Physical Therapists using these interventions has been shown to be more clinically and cost effective compared to care by primary care physicians. I recent study analyzed the available evidence to determine if we can prevent an initial occurrence of neck pain with Physical Therapy treatments.
Teichert and colleagues published their findings on the effectiveness of exercise for preventing neck pain in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy (2023). Authors included 5 randomized controlled trials of 1722 participants comparing exercise to either a placebo, no intervention, or minimal interventions. The found moderate evidence supporting the utilization of exercise interventions including strength training, endurance training, mobility, or general exercise to prevent a first occurrence of neck pain.