Physical Therapy & Neck Surgery Demonstrate Similar Long Term Outcomes

A new study in the journal Spine has found that patients undergoing conservative care with physical therapy did as well as those who underwent neck fusion surgery followed by physical in the long term.  The surgical group was noted to have a more rapid recovery in the first 12 months, but those improvements waned by the second year.  Furthermore, the surgical group was also subjected to the risks of surgery and had to endure a post-operative recovery period.  The researchers recommended a trial of more conservative care with a formal physical therapy program prior to consideration of neck surgery.  These findings support the results of a study published earlier this year showing equivalent long term improvements in physical function in patients who underwent physical therapy or surgery.