Neck pain is very common, affecting an estimated 70% of people at some point during their lifetime. While there are many potential treatments available, there is little research regarding their comparative effectiveness. A recent study published in the medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that chiropractic care is a more effective treatment for neck pain than medication or exercise.
The study involved 272 patients with acute or subacute neck pain. They were given one of three treatments: chiropractic care, medication, or exercise under the direction of a medical professional. After 12 weeks of treatment, those who received chiropractic care or exercise therapy experienced the most significant reduction in pain. Participant-rated pain was measured periodically for one year following the treatment.
When compared with patients receiving medication, both chiropractic and exercise therapies more than doubled the likelihood of complete pain relief. Chiropractic and exercise were the most effective treatment in both the short and long term.
Chiropractic patients found that these benefits lasted a year or more, showing that chiropractic care can provide long-term relief of neck pain. The researchers believe the success of chiropractic treatment stems from its ability to address the causes of neck pain, rather than solely treating the symptoms.
Bronfort, Gert, Roni Evans, Alfred Anderson, Kenneth Svendsen, Yiscah Bracha, and Richard Grimm. Spinal Manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012; 156 (1): 1-10.