Neck pain is a very common symptom in today’s society. Of course, there are many possible causes and diagnoses and additionally, there are many treatment options. People search high and low for neck pain relief and understandably so. To these people who are searching, I offer you this advice: look to the evidence.
Neck Pain Relief: Chiropractic and Exercise or Medication?
The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published a study that compared spinal manipulation (what a chiropractor does), medication and home exercise. In order to perform their study, the researchers separated a group of neck pain sufferers (non specific neck pain for 2-12 weeks) into 3 smaller groups: 1 group received spinal manipulation, one group received home exercise training and the last group received medication. At the end of their study, they found a significant difference in the spinal manipulation and exercise groups when compared to the medication group. More specifically, they found that both spinal manipulation and exercise were more effective at relieving neck pain than medication with spinal manipulation proving to be slightly more effective than exercise. Even more interesting is that all 3 groups only received care for 12 weeks but their progress was recorded at 12 weeks, 26 weeks and 52 weeks with every checkup resulting in the same information: chiropractic spinal manipulation and exercises were more effective at relieving neck pain than medication.
Let’s examine this for a minute. If the spinal manipulation group and the home exercise group experienced more neck pain relief than the medication group, doesn’t it stand to reason that an individual who received both chiropractic care and home exercise instructions would experience greater results? The short answer is yes. While the study above found that spinal manipulation has a small edge on exercise, there is a different study that examined the effectiveness of exercise together with chiropractic spinal manipulation. In this study, they concluded that exercises and spinal manipulation together were more effective than spinal manipulation alone. This is something worth considering when choosing treatment options.
One final note regarding spinal manipulation and neck pain. The study above focused on those suffering with neck pain for 2-12 weeks which is an acute case by definition. “So what about chronic neck pain?” You may ask. In a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics and discussed on the ACA website, they found significant improvements in chronic neck pain following spinal manipulation. This study reviewed 9 past studies and they found that all groups, in all studies, showed improvement up to 12 weeks after treatment.
By now you may be asking, “What next?” If this is you, I offer a few thoughts. None of this can replace a good exam by your local chiropractic physician or medical doctor and it’s important to get checked out because often times small problems escalate over time. I recommend that you use this information as part of your overall decision making process and maybe even discuss it with your doctor. If you’re looking for someone in the St. Charles, IL area, I’m a local St Charles Chiropractor and invite any and all inquiries!
By: Phillip Gamble
White Oak Family Wellness
405 Illinois Ave #2b
St Charles, IL 60174