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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Borenstein 2007.

Chronic neck pain: how to approach treatment

Borenstein DG. Chronic neck pain: how to approach treatment. Current Pain & Headache Reports. 2007 Dec;11(6):436–439.
Tags: neck, acupuncture, head/neck, spine, mind, controversy, debunkery, energy work

PainSci summary of Borenstein 2007?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★☆☆☆?2-star ratings are for studies with flaws, bias, and/or conflict of interest; published in lesser journals. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

Just about the only thing I agree with in this review of neck pain interventions from Current Pain & Headache Reports is that “there are few evidence-based studies that document efficacy of therapies for neck pain.” In spite of acknowledging this, Borenstein goes on to make unjustified positive conclusions about several neck pain therapies for which there is, in fact, no compelling evidence — especially acupuncture and corticosteroid injections, which are not actually promising treatments at all.

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Chronic neck pain is a common patient complaint. Despite its frequency as a clinical problem, there are few evidence-based studies that document efficacy of therapies for neck pain. The treatment of this symptom is based primarily on clinical experience. Preventing the development of chronic neck pain can be achieved by modification of the work environment with chairs that encourage proper musculoskeletal movement. The use of neck supports for sleep and active neck exercises together can improve neck pain. Passive therapies, including massage, acupuncture, mechanical traction, and electrotherapy, have limited benefit when measured by clinical trial results. NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and pure analgesics are the mainstays of therapy. Local injections of anesthetics with or without soluble corticosteroid preparations offer additional pain relief. The purpose of these agents is to diminish pain to facilitate normal neck movement. Surgical therapy with cervical spine fusion is indicated for the rare patient with intractable neck pain resistant to all nonsurgical therapies.

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This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: