Quite a few of us will get neck pain sometime in our lives. And if we see a physiotherapist, we might be advised to start a course of 'dynamic muscle training', using dumbbells, or relaxation training. The trouble is that neither therapy works.
Instead, you are as likely to get better by just carrying on with your usual daily activities, a new research study has concluded.
Researchers in Finland tested the three approaches - dynamic training, relaxation, and carrying on with normal daily activities - on 393 female office workers with chronic neck pain.
They were split into three groups: some did 12 weeks of dynamic muscle training, others carried out relaxation training for the same period, while the rest just carried on with their usual activities.
At the end of the trial period, each of the groups reported similar levels of neck pain. Although pain levels were the same, those who undertook exercise or relaxation did report greater flexibility and ability to move the head round.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 327: 475-7).