Book Review: Management of Neck Pain Disorders. A Research-Informed Approach

Neck pain is a problem that has befuddled the physiotherapists and doctors for a long time. Many cases of neck pain come in daily, and its recurrence makes it, all the more important to understand the complexities of the structures involved. It is indeed a significant challenge for a physiotherapist to treat neck pain successfully. The book, Management of Neck Pain Disorders A research-informed approach, is here to save us. This book is a complete guide which targets every aspect of neck pain dysfunction. Written by world-renowned researchers and physiotherapists, it is a valuable resource that can be used by students and clinicians. The 19-chapter book is sure to impress everyone. In a hard-back and compact design, each chapter is written with a sense of clarity and is easy to read even for beginners.

The present work originates from their first book Whiplash, Headache and Neck Pain, published in 2008, and it reflects the advances in research and clinical practices in the past ten years. The new work of the authors aims to improve outcomes for people with neck pain disorders by developing better methods, research-informed assessment and management strategies. The manual overviews neck pain disorders in the biopsychosocial context. The authors emphasize the importance of clinical reasoning during the physical examination to guide optimal treatment rather than delivering a standard protocol of care.

The book is organized into four sections. Every chapter begins with a coloured introductory segment presenting the central idea of the topic and concludes with a summary of essential points.

Section 1 introduces the reader to neck pain disorders.

Section 2 Clinical Sciences covers the anatomy and physiology of pain pathways, biomechanics of cervical and upper thoracic regions and their functional relationship with upper extremity and craniomandibular area. Different pain mechanisms, nerve-related pathology, sensorimotor disturbances and psychological and social factors affecting neck pain are briefly discussed.

Section 3 Clinical assessment includes the patient interview and comprehensive physical assessment and tests to rule out the differential diagnosis like headaches and dizziness of different origins. Sleep pattern, provocative factors and certain serious conditions requiring cautions are also considered.

Section 4 explores various treatment strategies. It covers:

  • manipulative therapy approach
  • neuromuscular and posture training
  • sensorimotor control exercises
  • prevention strategies and home-based maintenance programs.

All the exercises are well explained along with their dosage. Exercise protocol in the book is informed by research. A patient-centred approach is considered. The authors suggest that the final choice of any treatment is at clinician’s discretion, and it is necessary to continually monitor the effectiveness of any exercise to ensure the desired effect on impairments.

The book stimulates clinical reasoning thought process while examining and selecting treatment strategies, and this is discussed in the case presentations towards the end of this section. The author also stresses the importance of relapse prevention program as neck pain episodes increase the dependency on NSAIDs, which have harmful side effects.

The book is an essential clinical resource with much-supporting references. Readers are also referred to relevant frameworks, reviews and updates which are available outside this literature. Essential points in the blue box and images with clear captions, serve a quick and useful reference. It would have been nice if Chapter 5, had included illustrations of the muscles discussed, for reader’s convenience. The quality of the paper is excellent, and this book is also available in an electronic version.

The topic of neck pain disorder is complex, and the authors have done justice in covering all aspects of it. Management of Neck Pain Disorders: A Research-Informed Approach is an excellent textbook with a research-informed analytical approach to the management of neck pain disorders. It provides a valuable source for physiotherapists treating patients with neck pain disorders. I strongly recommend this book.

Neurological Physiotherapy Pocketbook

The first edition of the Management of Neck Pain Disorders is the only book for physiotherapists that provides essential evidence-based information in a unique and easy-to-use format for the current evidence in clinical settings.

Written by new international editors and contributors, this book provides detailed and easily accessible essential clinical information.

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