RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Role of physical therapy in the treatment of cervical disk disease.
Table 4 summarizes how physical therapy should be implemented during the acute and chronic phase of cervical disk disease. From the outset of treatment, the patient should be encouraged to return to work or other productive activities and should be taught how to be responsible for their own recovery. If passive modalities are used, they must be an adjunct to the active modalities. As soon as the patient is able to continue with an active program without unbearable pain, the passive modalities should be discontinued gradually. If neck pain becomes chronic, the accompanying psychosocial dysfunction must be addressed through behavioral modification techniques, preferably in a multidisciplinary setting. Modification of the work place, work habits, and lifestyles must be emphasized at both the acute and chronic stages. The modalities presented in this article are commonly used by physical therapists. Unfortunately, the clinical efficacy of most of these modalities has yet to be proved. A literature search on the effectiveness of various physical therapy modalities by Sievers et al showed that only 4% of the studies published from 1979 to 1985 were controlled clinical trials. This scientific output of physical therapists needs to be corrected.
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