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October 2021

Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Oct; 37(10): 1118-22.

Chronic neck pain: a comparison of acupuncture treatment and physiotherapy.

David J, Modi S, Aluko AA, Robertshaw C, Farebrother J.

Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and University of Reading.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture, as compared with physiotherapy, in the management of chronic neck pain. DESIGN: Seventy adult patients with non-inflammatory neck pain of >6 weeks duration and with no abnormal neurology were randomly assigned to receive either of the treatments. Thirty-five patients were included in each group. OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain by visual analogue scale and neck pain questionnaire, improvement in range of movement of neck relative to baseline, and well-being (general health questionnaire). Measurements were recorded at the start of treatment, at 6 weeks and at 6 months. RESULTS: Both treatment groups improved in all criteria. Acupuncture was slightly more effective in patients who had higher baseline pain scores. CONCLUSIONS: Both acupuncture and physiotherapy are effective forms of treatment. Since an untreated control group was not part of the study design, the magnitude of this improvement cannot be quantified.

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