New study proves chiropractic to be far better for neck pain than medicine!
A recent study clearly demonstrated that seeing a chiropractor and/or engaging in light exercise relieves neck pain more effectively than relying on pain medication.
Of course, we always knew this within the chiropractic profession and we see it being demonstrated every day. However, with all the advertising that the drug companies put out there, it needs to be brought to our attention more often.
“There is a healthier, safer option which provides you with a much better long-term prognosis”.
Neck pain affects three quarters of us at some point in our lives, yet there has been no proven first-line treatment. This study is one of the few head-to-head comparisons of various treatments for neck pain and the results are extremely important. Throughout the world, millions of people seek out spinal manipulation by chiropractors because they know it works but unfortunately the supporting evidence has been limited at best.
But the new research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or the correct home exercises were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.
The author of the study was Dr. Gert Bronfort, a research professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. He noted that …“Even a year later, there were differences between the spinal manipulation and medication groups.”
Neck pain is one of the most frequent reasons for trips to primary care doctors, prompting millions of visits every year. Many patients become confused as to why the pain and stiffness seems to appear randomly without explanation and as to the best course of action. Of course there is no shortage of adverts out there telling us that we need drugs to take away the pain. But seriously now, “just how is that meant to fix the cause. There must be a cause”.
Dr. Bronfort was inspired to carry out an analysis because so little research exists. “There was a void in the scientific literature in terms of what the most helpful treatments are,” he said.
To find out, Dr. Bronfort and his colleagues recruited a large group of adults with neck pain that had no known specific cause. The researchers then split them into three groups and followed them for about three months.
One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits.
A second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen and — in some cases, at the discretion of a doctor — stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants.
The third were shown how to do gentle neck exercises that they could do at home. They were encouraged to do 5 to 10 reps of each exercise up to eight times a day.
The results were highly significant. After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group.
A year later, when the researchers checked back in, 53 percent of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. That compared to just a 38 percent pain reduction among those who had been taking medication.
In addition to the limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other major downside: people had to keep taking them long term. “The people in the medication group kept on using a higher amount of medication more frequently throughout the follow-up period, up to a year later,” Dr. Bronfort said. “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”
He also expressed concern that those on medications were not as empowered or active in their own care as those in the other groups. “We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible,” he said. “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”
At Total Health Chiropractic, neck exercises play a major part in my protocol and we are in a very unique position with the equipment we have in our office.