Seeing a chiropractor or engaging in light exercise relieves neck pain more effectively than relying on pain medication, new research shows.
New research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.
After 12 weeks of Chiropractic care, 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 Chiropractic care 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 their limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other downside: people kept taking them. “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.”