How Does Chiropractic Treatment Compare to Medication and Exercise for Neck Pain?

Neck pain is a very common cause for patients to seek treatment.  People will often choose chiropractic care, but they will also seek out care with others, including massage therapists, medical doctors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and others.  It’s also not unusual for someone to come into my office having tried a few different approaches.

So, how do varying treatments compare?  A recent study looked at a group of 272 adults to find out.  The group was split into 3 smaller groups.  Group 1 had chiropractic treatment, Group 2 had prescription pain medication, and Group 3 had 2 visits with therapists with instructions for home exercises.

Although almost everyone improved, the group that had chiropractic treatment improved the most, with therapy exercise coming in as a close second, and last was the pain medication treatment group.  The group that had the highest satisfaction rating at 1 year was the chiropractic treatment group. Treatment for all groups lasted 12 weeks, and follow up was also completed at 1 year.  So this study took into account immediate and long-lasting benefits.

As a provider of chiropractic treatment, I’m happy to know how it fares against other options that my patients have before them.  I also think that it’s important for healthcare consumers know that options outside of medication prescription are readily available to them.

Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial, Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD; et.al. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012;156:1-10.

photo credit: http://www.owl-wise.co.uk/owlfacts.html

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