I would like to continue with the theme Care Options and talk about why physical therapy is a great first choice for neck pain.
The premise is simple - try things that are conservative, affordable and have little to no side effects first.
I don't want to get too technical with you but I think it is important to know the facts. For neck pain, physical therapy is the best choice as the first line of intervention and some of the highest quality research studies prove it. Here are some conclusions:
Exercise with manual therapy (this means hands-on techniques applied to your neck) has favorable outcomes.
A Cochrane review of manipulation and mobilization for mechanical neck disorders. Spine. 2005 Jan 1;30(1):166.
The results of another study indicate that at 7 weeks one group that received manual physical therapy (hands-on care) had a success rate of 70%, there was a 50% success rate for physical therapist directed exercise only, and a 35% success when pain relieving medication and verbal advice was provided. The group that received hands-on care had fewer missed days from work and used less medication.
Hoving , et al. Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy, Or Continued Care by a General Practitioner for Patients with Neck Pain. Ann Intern Med 2002;136 (10):713-722
Another study examining hands-on care and exercise also concluded that the results were better in both the short term and long term as compared to advice and stretching exercises only.Walker, et al. The effectiveness of manual physical therapy and exercise for mechanical neck pain: A randomized clinical trial.Spine, 33(22), 2371-2378.