According to Annals of Medicine (May 21, 2002;136:713-722, 758-759), manual therapy may be more effective than other treatments like exercise or pain medication. Manual therapy is a “hands on” technique, in which the neck is manipulated to improve mobility (not unlike a chiropractic adjustment). In the study, researchers slowly moved the neck, within the patient’s range of motion, using pressure, slowly applied.

Subjects included 183 patients were given exercise therapy, manual therapy, or care from their doctors (pain medication, exercise advice, etc.). Patients were allowed to continue with any medication that they were taking. More than two-thirds of the patients receiving manual-therapy experienced either complete recovery or much improvement. A little over half of those on exercise therapy and just over a third of patients continuing their usual care experienced improvement.