Neck pain is a debilitating condition that impacts millions of people around the world, often leading to lost productivity, medical expenses and decreased quality of life. While there is still no consensus on which patient education strategies work best in treating neck pain, researchers have been working tirelessly to discover which approach produces results.
Recent research published in a reputable medical journal provides insight on the effectiveness of therapeutic patient education (TPE) strategies on pain, function, disability, quality of life, global perceived effect, patient satisfaction, knowledge transfer and behavior change among adults with neck pain associated with whiplash or non-specific/specific mechanical neck pain with or without radiculopathy or cervicogenic headache.
After reviewing 15 randomized controlled trials (RCT), three themes related to TPE emerged with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Advice Focusing on Activation: According to the study, there is moderate quality evidence that an educational video with advice focused on activation was more beneficial for acute whiplash-related pain than no treatment at intermediate term.
However, this approach proved less successful at relieving pain or improving function compared to generic information given out during emergency care for acute whiplash at short or intermediate follow-up intervals.
Advice regarding pain and stress coping skills and workplace ergonomics: The study revealed very low quality evidence that either supported other treatments or showed no difference across numerous follow-up periods and disorder subtypes.
Self-care strategies: Unfortunately, the study revealed very low quality evidence indicating that self-care strategies did not reduce pain for acute to chronic neck pain at short term follow-up.
Overall, the study concluded that TPE strategies can be successful in treating neck pain; however, further research is necessary to identify which approach is most successful.
Experts speculate that these findings could pave the way for more personalized and efficient patient education strategies, ultimately improving quality of life for those suffering from neck pain.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from pain, consult your healthcare provider about the most suitable treatments for your condition.
Source-Gross A, Forget M, St George K, Fraser MM, Graham N, Perry L, Burnie SJ, Goldsmith CH, Haines T, Brunarski D. Patient education for neck pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Mar 14;(3):CD005106. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005106.pub4. PMID: 22419306.
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