Doctors are over-prescribing drugs for the treatment of chronic neck pain, it has been suggested.
Researchers at Duke University and University of North Carolina found that only 53 per cent of patients studied were prescribed therapeutic exercises for the condition.
Meanwhile, more than 56 per cent were using over-the-counter medications, while 29 per cent reported using strong narcotics and 23 per cent used weak narcotics.
Dr Adam Goode, who led the study, commented: "Rehabilitation conditioning and acupuncture studies have shown to be effective treatments that were less frequently used by patients with chronic neck pain."
Published in journal Arthritis Care and Research, the study noted that some effective treatments were being overlooked in favour of other over-used options.
Despite this, there were still some alternative treatments being offered and used by patients.
Of these the most popular was superficial heat, taken by 57 per cent of subjects.