New guide outlines effective neck pain treatments

June 18, 2010 (Toronto, ON) – A new neck pain guide offers a concise summary on both helpful and unhelpful approaches to treating this common condition.

The Neck Pain Evidence Summary is based on a series of research reviews published in the journal Spine. It covers the range of possible treatments for different severities and types of neck pain, including whiplash.

The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) created this summary to share the evidence synthesis completed by the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain. IWH worked with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) and some members of the task force’s executive committee to prepare the summary.

In February 2008, Spine journal published a special edition dedicated to the task force’s reviews on the prevention, prognosis, diagnosis and management of neck pain. After publication, a network of Canadian chiropractic opinion leaders, coordinated by IWH, suggested distilling the evidence into a summary.

It’s exciting to see the chiropractic community take up the work of the task force this way, says Dr. Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, a task force member and IWH senior scientist. The Neck Pain Evidence Summary provides a way for health-care professionals to review the evidence easily in their practice, and if they need further information, they can refer to the full research papers.

The task force recommends treatments or further assessments, based on the severity of neck pain. They classified severity into four grades. In the evidence summary, a chart outlines the signs and symptoms, and further assessments for each grade. Then both helpful and unhelpful treatments are presented by grade and type of injury.

Because there are several helpful treatments for some grades of neck pain, the patient’s preference should be considered. For instance, any of the following treatments may benefit for the less serious Grade I or II neck pain, in cases with no traumatic accident: acupuncture, neck mobilization and manipulation, supervised exercise, low-level laser therapy and pain relievers.

The guide will be useful to various health-care professionals who use these approaches, including chiropractors, doctors, physiotherapists and others.

We’re very pleased to be working with IWH and OCA to provide chiropractors with results of key research so they may continue to provide the best informed care to their patients, says Dr. Jean Moss, CMCC President. This Neck Pain Evidence Summary guide is another example of how intricate results of relevant research are distilled and transferred to practicing chiropractors in a practical and accessible format.

We welcome the work of this international task force whose study affirms the safety and benefits of chiropractic care for people with neck pain, and we were very pleased to work with IWH and CMCC to ensure practitioners will have easy access to the most current and comprehensive research on neck pain, says Ontario Chiropractic Association President Dr. David Brunarski.

The Neck Pain Evidence Summary is available at

About the Task Force

The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders involved more than 50 people from nine countries and represented 19 clinical and scientific disciplines or specialties. The task force was affiliated with eight collaborating universities and research institutes as well as 11 professional organizations. The task force has published more than 20 research studies and “best evidence” systematic reviews on neck pain.

About Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College

The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) is an accredited leader in chiropractic education and research, offering a four year Doctor of Chiropractic degree, as well as specialty graduate studies. CMCC research spearheads breakthroughs in pain relief and seeks to better understand the body’s power to heal itself. Our community teaching clinics see over 5,500 patients annually.

About the Ontario Chiropractic Association

Established in 1929, the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) is a voluntary professional association representing almost 3,000 (approx. 82 per cent) of Ontario’s practicing chiropractors.

About the Institute for Work & Health

IWH is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that aims to protect and improve the health of working people. Recognized as one of the top five occupational health and safety research centres in the world, the Institute provides practical and relevant findings on the prevention of work injury and disability to policy-makers, workers, employers, clinicians, and health, safety and disability management professionals.

Media contacts

Cindy Moser 
Communications Manager
Institute for Work & Health
416-927-2027, ext. 2183

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate
Institute for Work & Health