Aspirin, Ibuprofen, narcotics offer less relief than those alternative options
A new study from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota, conducted one of the few head-to-head comparisons for various treatments of neck pain. According to the American Osteopathic Association, list neck pain as third cause of chronic pain affecting more than a quarter of Americans and one-third do not wish to take pain medication due to fear of addiction or side effects.
Many Americans have spinal manipulations done by a doctor of chiropractic however, the evidence supporting the technique has been limited until this new research which appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study had revealed using chiropractic care or doing light exercise at home reduces pain more significantly than medications over-the-counter or prescribed.
Dr. Gert Bronfort, vice president of research, clinical researcher, research professor and author of study at Northwestern, had been inspired to carry out the research since there is little research where neck pain and treatments are concerned. According to Dr. Bronfort, “There was a void in the scientific literature in terms of what the most helpful treatments are.”
For the study Dr. Bronfort and associates recruited 272 adults with neck pain and specific cause. Most of the adults had been recruited from a large HMO and advertisements. Once recruited, researchers had split the adults into three groups and kept track for around three months.
One group was assigned to see a chiropractor for around twenty minute sessions during the study period, which was around 15 visits. Second group, was assigned to take common pain medications such as acetaminophen and in some cases with the discretion of a physician, to take stronger medications like muscle relaxants and narcotics. The third group met twice with a physical therapist who had instructed them on how to do simple and gentle exercises for the neck at home and encouraged to do five to ten repetitions of each exercise up to ten times a day.
After three months, those in the medication free group had significantly better results than those in the medication group. Around 57% had seen a chiropractor and 48% had done the exercise. Those in the medication free group had reported a 75% pain reduction in comparison to the 33% in the exercise group.
After one year, researcher checked back with the participants. Among the chiropractic group, 53% still reported a 75% reduction in pain and the results were similar in the exercise group in comparison to the 38% pain reduction in the medication group.
In addition to the medication group for pain relief did have one negative effect, they had remained on the medications. According to Dr. Bronfort, the medication group not only kept taking them but at higher doses and more frequently through the follow-up period of up to one year later. There is also the fact that if taking medications for a long period of time more negative health effects in the body can occur such as gastrointestinal problems.
In closing Dr. Bronfort states We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible.“ “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”
Neck adjustments by a chiropractic also referred to as cervical manipulations is an exact procedure applied to the joints of the neck usually by a hand. The adjustments improve mobility of the spine and restore range of motion and can increase movement in the adjoining muscles. Patients usually notice improvement in the ability to turn and twist their neck and a decrease of pain, soreness and stiffness.
The chiropractic treatments can include other treatments such as mobilization, corrective exercises at home and any other treatments in which may be needed.