Chiropractic Most Cost-Effective Choice for Neck Pain

Over the years, we have helped many men and women in Salem, OR recover from persistent neck pain. This isn't unusual, 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 this question, it's useful to look back at an interesting study from 2003 published in the British Medical Journal. The paper reviewed various conservative therapies and concluded that manual therapy was the most practical option for neck pain.

Researchers from the Netherlands were interested in evaluating not only the costs associated with manual therapy but how efficiently manual therapy provided 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 fastest improvement 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 variances in recovery rates were still statistically significant after 26 weeks but not after 52 weeks.

To calculate costs of treatments, the authors looked at direct costs such as visits to the health-care provider and the costs of prescription medications, in addition to indirect costs like work absenteeism and travel time.

The manual therapy group had significantly 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 about $611 in costs as opposed to $1773 in the physiotherapy group and $1885 in the general practitioner group (447 euros ,1297 euros, and 1379 euros, respectively).

Plus manual therapy decreased work absenteeism. 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 reduced cost likely stemmed from the fact that MT patients were using considerably less prescription drugs and needed fewer treatment interventions due to quicker recovery rates. The authors concluded that manual therapy and chiropractic care, specifically spinal mobilization, is less expensive and more successful at alleviating neck pain than physical therapy or care from a general practitioner.

Dr. Michels has worked with many patients who have suffered from neck pain. If you live in Salem, OR and would like to stop suffering from chronic neck pain, give our office a call at (503) 399-7607 for an assessment.


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

  1. dr Robertson

    Dr. Julia Robertson, DC is a Chiropractic Physician who worked with Michels Spinal Rehab and Associates and who is now the proud owner of Robertson Spinal Rehab & Associates. She provides personal one on one services specializing in spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, nutritional counseling in addition to developing personal rehab programs.