Research shows that instead of taking prescription drugs to relieve neck pain, engaging in light exercise plus a visit to a chiropractor in Vancouver, WA should effectively provide pain relief. Anahad O’Connor, correspondent for the New York Times, writes about the benefits of chiropractic adjustment versus medication.
One of the studies showed that, at some point, neck pain affects more than half of Americans who have no proven, first-line treatment. The same research also revealed that chiropractic care and/or simple exercises at home are more effective in relieving pain compared with taking pain medication like aspirin and ibuprofen.
A large group of adults suffering from neck pain that had no known specific cause was recruited through advertisements. The researchers split them into three groups and observed them for approximately three months.
The first group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits. The second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen or stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants (at the discretion of a doctor).
The third group met on two occasions with physical therapists who gave them instructions for simple, gentle neck exercises that they could perform at home. They were encouraged to do five to ten repetitions of each exercise up to eight times a day.
After 12 weeks, those in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57% of those who met with chiropractors and 48% who did the exercises reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, while those in the medication group experienced a 33% pain decrease.
One year later, researchers checked back on all three groups. They discovered 53% of the subjects who received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. Those taking medication reported only 38% pain reduction.
Moderate and acute neck pain is one of the most frequent reasons why people visit primary care doctors. Many patients end up frustrated since the pain often crops up with no rhyme or reason, and treatment options are varied. This study proves for certain that physical therapy, pain medication, and spinal manipulation at a Vancouver chiropractic clinic are viable options. Experienced professionals like those at Forgey Chiropractic, however, caution patients to ease up on the use of medication as this could lead to systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.