A semi-hard cervical collar and rest for 3 to 6 weeks or physical therapy accompanied by home exercises for 6 weeks reduced neck and arm pain substantially compared with a wait-and-see policy in the early phase of cervical radiculopathy, say authors of an article published October 7 in BMJ.

This research was conducted in neurology outpatient clinics in three Dutch hospitals. Participants were 205 patients with symptoms and signs of cervical radiculopathy of less than one month’s duration. Interventions included:
– treatment with a semi-hard collar and taking rest for 3 to 6 weeks
– 12 twice weekly sessions of physical therapy for 6 weeks
– continuation of daily activities as much as possible without specific treatment (control group).

Physical therapy consisted of mobility and stability exercises for the neck and a home exercise program.

In the wait-and-see group, arm pain diminished slightly on the visual analogue scale. Patients who were treated with physical therapy or a collar achieved additional pain reduction. In the wait-and-see group, neck pain did not decrease significantly in the first 6 weeks.

Treatment with physical therapy was shown to decrease pain while allowing for restoration of motion and normal activities.

Call ECRC Physical Therapy if you want to try physical therapy to help decrease your neck pain.