In what is described as the first randomized controlled trial, researchers from the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, in the UK, assessed the addition of acupuncture or lessons in Alexander Technique to a routine of usual care for patients with chronic neck pain. Usual care included the neck pain specific therapies routinely provided to primary care patients, such as medications and physical therapy. The study found significant improvements in both pain reduction and self-efficacy associated with the additional treatment modalities. The findings appear in the Nov. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study cohort included 517 patients with a median duration of prior neck pain of 72 months. All received usual care and were randomly assigned to receive that alone, or to additionally receive 12 sessions of acupuncture, or up to 20 sessions of Alexander Technique. The researchers found statistically and clinically significant 12-month reductions in baseline Northwick Park Questionnaire (NPQ) scores of pain improvement with acupuncture and with Alexander Technique lessons, compared with usual care. Larger improvement in mental component scores were also noted for the enhanced intervention groups over the same time period.
Read a Pain Reporter interview with lead researcher Dr. Hugh MacPherson, here.
Read a news report about the study findings here.
The journal abstract may be read here.