NIH Study Finds Chiropractic Care and Exercise Better Than Drugs When Treating Neck Pain
The mainstream medical community has repeatedly suggested a pivotal way to treat neck pain is by writing a prescription. However, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine might challenge that type of thinking.
What did the study show? It found that drugs are not the optimal approach to this type of problem. Instead, individuals who utilized chiropractic care and/or exercise were two times more likely to be free of neck pain after a twelve-week period than the group treated with pharmaceuticals.
Naturally, chiropractors are not surprised by the study’s findings; many practitioners understand that drugs may mask neck pain but do little to address the underlying cause.
Fortunately, exercise and/or chiropractic treatments offer a more encouraging outcome, with chiropractic care found to be the most favorable.
Let’s look at each therapy more closely.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractors are highly trained in musculoskeletal disorders. Because of this, the chiropractic approach to neck pain can be multifaceted. For example, adjustments work to align the neck and spine. This key therapy directly addresses pain because misalignments often result in pain. Massage, another important method, loosens neck muscles, promotes enhanced flexibility, reduces stress, and increases range of motion. Cold lasers, when appropriate, serve to reinforce the benefits. The result? Reduced or eliminated pain.
- Exercise. Chiropractic treatments are effective when addressing neck pain, but exercise, another natural therapy that can be done in the privacy of your own home, is also important. This is one reason why many chiropractors provide specific exercises for their patients to do at home. Exercise, when done correctly, can improve posture, support balance, and even prevent pain from occurring in the first place. At the same time, other well-being benefits, like heart health, are an added advantage to this type of activity. Actually, exercise rewards are many.
Yes, The National Institutes of Health examined chiropractic treatment and exercise and found both therapies to be better than drugs when treating neck pain. Still, it is important to mention there are other drug-free ways to augment the benefits of chiropractic care and exercise. For example, supplements such as ginger and curcumin (found in tumeric) offer natural anti-inflammatory properties. Concurrently, minimizing sugars and grains in the diet assists the body in helping to prevent inflammatory responses. When these steps are practiced alongside chiropractic care and exercise, the results are impressive.
For additional information regarding the NIH study, go to http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/04/neck-pain-chiropractors-exercise-better-than-medication-study-says/