Sometimes Papers Just Don’t Tell Us A Lot

Anytime a person is reading research papers, you really have to look at the fine print. It’s very similar to the information on the back of your prescription drugs. There are hundreds of things that it says that could and have happened, but what does it really mean. Will it or won’t it cause yousevere cramping and intestinal failure? Is it a one in thousandchance or one in 1 million chance. Is the information complete and accurate?

Sometimes with papers you have to read what they included and what they didn’t include in their parameters. What did they find and what was indicated. But then it comes down to the final conclusion on was there enough data that they could say without a statistical doubt this is what happened. For example if a research study does not have enough participants itmakes it more difficult to produce a statistical conclusion. Itdoesn’t matter that people had a 30% pain reduction if there were only six participants, because that could be a statistical variant with only six participants. But if you had 3000 people in a study to all had the same findings then you could draw a conclusion.

The below study looked to draw a conclusion on conservative treatments of neck pain not due to whiplash. They looked at 1900 articles and because of their inclusion criteria only accepted for trials. Because of their four trials it makes it very difficult to draw a great conclusion. Those four trials hadone study did show a decrease in neck pain with manipulation within the first week. Another study compared manipulation with a fake manipulation, and the group receiving treatment got better faster than the control group. Their criteria also included electric therapy only as a treatment which provided some relief after several weeks.

This paper comes back to the point thatbetter clinical trials and more studies are needed to show the best practices for treatment of acute neck pain. It really does not tell us much but sum up a couple different articles that areout there in the world. If you only read the conclusion of thisarticle it might make you think that there is not any treatmentfor acute neck pain. But reading the fine details and print youcan see why they came to their conclusions. Their study criteria needed to include more articles. Or the factors they were trying to include into their study just have not been researched yetand more studies need to be done which would fit their criteria

The following article discusses back pain and exercisesfor back pain. The abstract is below for your reading. More information on neck pain and exercise videos for strength and endurance.

More information on therapeutic treatments utilizing Physical Therapy or Chiropractic can be directed to Google+.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

Volume 28, Issue 6 , Pages 443-448,July 2005

A Systematic Review of Conservative Treatments for Acute Neck Pain Not Due To Whiplash

Howard T. Vernon, DC, PhD, B. Kim Humphreys, DC, PhD, Carol A. Hagino, MBA



To identify the evidence base of clinical trials of conservative treatments for acute neck pain not due to whiplash injury.

Design and Setting

A comprehensive literature search was performed in MEDLINE, CINHAHL, AMED, MANTIS, Index to Chiropractic Literature, AltHealthWatch, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry, and several EBSCO Information Services databases. Systematic retrieval and evaluation procedures were used.


The search generated 1980 citations. Four trials (5 publications) were accepted according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Three trials used a form of spinal manual therapy. One of these trials used only one manipulation and reported immediate effects on pain, with real manipulation producing significantly greater pain reduction than control procedure. The other 2 of these trials reported on outcomes over 1 to 3 weeks. In 1 trial, the group receiving manipulation showed significantly greater pain reduction at 1 week than did the group receiving only medication. In the other trial, the group receiving transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation had a significantly greater level of pain reduction at 3 weeks. In the fourth trial, exercise was compared to passive physiotherapy; however, outcomes were not reported until 6 and 12 months, so the results cannot be compared to the natural history of acute neck pain not due to whiplash.


There is limited evidence of the benefit of spinal manipulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in the treatment of acute neck pain not due to whiplash injury. There is a dearth of high-quality clinical trials of conservative treatments for this condition. PubMed

© 2005 National University of Health Sciences. Published byElsevier Inc. All rights reserved.