A research study published on January 3, 2012, in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that in dealing with acute or subacute neck pain, chiropractic adjustments and home exercise is more effective than using over-the-counter or prescription medication. The results of the 52 week long study led the authors to state: “Spinal manipulation therapy and home exercise advice led to similar short and long-term outcomes but participants who received medication seemed to fare worse, with a consistently higher use of pain medications for neck pain throughout the trial’s observational period.”
This is nothing new to chiropractors and massage therapists who see this happen every day with the patients we see. And it certainly makes sense because our hands-on approach is geared towards addressing the actual cause of the neck pain whether it be muscle, joint or nerve related. At best, drugs will mask the pain but will never correct the biomechanical issue causing it.
It’s understandable that people simply want to be out of pain as soon as possible and hence, the medicine cabinet or the walk-in clinic is the first resort. Or at least that how we’ve been conditioned to think…there’s a pill you can pop for any ailment! And it’s usually when the magic pills don’t work that we get second dibs on working with patients to really fix the problem.
Next time you have neck pain, see if you can avoid reaching for the bottle of Tylenol and try these steps instead:
- Perform some light stretches and/or neck mobilizations at home
- Apply ice/heat depending on how you think you may have injured the neck…if in doubt, ice is the safer bet
- Have your spouse/partner try to massage out any sore muscles in the neck and shoulder
- If none of that has helped much, see a chiropractor or other manual therapist like a massage therapist or physiotherapist to do a proper assessment and more advanced treatment
- Follow through with any short or long term home recommendations offered by the health professional
Your friendly Richmond ill chiropractor, Dr. Keith.