A comparative study of three different types of manual therapy techniques in the management of chronic mechanical neck pain
Roodt, Maria Louisa Elizabeth
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The prevalence of neck pain in musculoskeletal practice is second only to that of low back pain (Vernon et al., 2007). There is a growing interest in neck pain research due to the escalating disability burden and compensation costs associated with neck pain (Côte et al., 2003). Manual therapies are commonly used in the treatment of neck pain (Côte et al., 2003). After an extensive literature review by Haldeman et al. (2008) they found that manual therapy techniques have some benefit but no one technique was clearly superior to the next. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare three commonly used manual therapy techniques in the treatment of chronic mechanical neck pain. OBJECTIVES The purpose of this study was to compare three different manual therapy techniques (SMT, MET and PNF) which are commonly used in the treatment of chronic MNP in terms of range of motion, pain and disability. METHOD Forty-five patients with chronic mechanical neck pain were obtained through non-probability convenience sampling and assigned into one of three treatment groups (15 per group) using a computer generated randomized table. The three different treatment groups were: Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT), Muscle Energy Technique (MET) and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). Each group received six treatments over a period of three weeks with a follow-up consultation. Measurements were taken at the first, third and sixth treatment and at the follow-up consultation. SPSS version 15.0 was used to analyse the data. A p value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant. An intra-group analysis was done using repeated measures ANOVA testing to assess the time effect for each outcome separately. For inter-group analyses the time x group interaction effect was assessed using repeated measures ANOVA testing, and profile plots were used to assess the trend and direction of the effects. RESULTS Intra-group analysis of the results revealed that all three groups improved significantly between the first and the final consultation, for all measures. Inter-group analysis of the data did not show any difference between the three groups by the end of the final consultation. However, extension range of motion appeared to improve slightly faster in the PNF group iv but it was not significant when compared to the other two groups. Therefore, there was no statistical significance between the three groups. CONCLUSION It was concluded that all three treatment groups responded equally to the treatment, thus, suggesting that MET or PNF techniques can be used if SMT is contra-indicated.