providing GOOD treatment results!
Experts agree that keeping active is key in the rehabilitation of most musculoskeletal problems. Our body is made to move, and a lack of movement will prolong recovery. However, this cannot be translated into a “one size fits all” approach. Intervention should be specific to your particular problem. Exercise can be overdone and ineffective if performed incorrectly and/or if the origin of the problem has not been properly assessed.
Weak evidence (lack of well-controlled studies) has led some family doctors to be reluctant to recommend some manual therapies. Instead, based on “the best” scientific evidence available, physicians have been more inclined to recommend the importance of staying active and living as normal a life as possible (including work and physical activities). This is often combined with general advice on pain coping strategies and exercise adapted to the patient’s condition.
However, there are studies to suggest that this is not optimal. An active and individualized treatment approach that is tailored to each patient can lead to a much faster recovery. I.e., a controlled study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain, showed that a focused approach directed by a qualified therapist provides superior treatment results, particularly for back and neck trouble. Significantly better results were seen in chronic patients after only 6 treatment sessions.
In a study of 409 patients, researchers compared two groups of people with back and neck problems. The patients included in the trial had marked dysfunction at work or leisure for at least two weeks, and 56% had suffered pain for at least one year.
Patients were randomly assigned to two therapeutic alternatives. Half were given manual techniques like spinal manipulation/ mobilization, massage, and stretching.
Each patient received a maximum of six such treatment sessions. The other half (control group) received “evidence-based” advice and support from doctors with the aim of strengthening their understanding of the importance of staying active and living as normal a life as possible. The “evidence-based” treatment (control group) was augmented with a booklet of general information and exercises.
Twelve weeks after the start of treatment, 57% in the treatment group stated that they were ‘very much better’ compared with 13% in the control group. 69% in the treatment and 42% in the control group had a clinically important decrease in pain, and 19% in the treatment group and 7% in the control group were totally recovered twelve weeks after the study had started. A separate analysis of neck pain and back pain patients showed similar results.
This is one example of a study to indicate that active therapy provides good results.