Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Manual Therapy for Neck Pain
Manual therapy includes:
Chiropractors, osteopathic doctors, massage therapists, and
physical therapists sometimes use manual
Manual therapy is sometimes used for
neck pain. A review of multiple studies shows that
exercise and mobilization, either separate or used together, are likely to be
helpful in the treatment of nonspecific neck pain. (Pain is "nonspecific" when its cause isn't clear.) A combination of exercise and manual therapy is likely to work the best.footnote 1 And manual therapy may be better than medicine for relieving nonspecific neck pain.footnote 2
Manipulation is not recommended if you have nerve-related problems that are very severe or getting worse.
Before you try
manual therapy for neck pain, think about the following:
Do your research. Not all manual therapy is the same. And
there isn't a good way to tell what will be helpful and what won't. If you decide to try it,
talk to a couple of different manual therapy providers before you choose and get treated by one.
Bhagawati D, Gwilym S (2015). Neck pain with radiculopathy. BMJ Clinical Evidence. http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/x/systematic-review/1103/overview.html. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Bronfort G, et al. (2012). Spinal manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: A randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(1, Part 1): 1–10.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.