Research Supporting Chiropractic for Neck Pain

Positive research supporting chiropractic care for neck pain is not new.  About four years ago, a study supporting chiropractic care for neck pain was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.  The study was conducted at the Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinic Studies which is the research clinic attached to Northwestern Health Science University, which is my alma matter.

Dr. Gert Brontfort lead the study in which, 272 patients with nonspecific neck pain for 2 to 12 weeks were randomly assigned to receive either education and home exercises,  12 weeks of spinal manipulation therapy,  or medication. The spinal manipulation therapy was provided by chiropractors who were well-trained and experienced in the procedure.

The medications group followed a typical protocol that would be found in regular clinical settings.  Fist they started with OTC NSAIDs, if they were not tolerated or were ineffective, then narcotic medications and muscle relaxers were used.  Narcotics included medications like Lortab, and other hydrocodone combinations.

Some adverse events were reported in each of the three groups.  The chiropractic group had a adverse reaction rate of 40%.  The exercise group reported a rate of 46%.  Their adverse events included some muscle pain, stiffness and headache.

The medication groups had a 60% rate of adverse events.  Their reactions included gastrointestinal symptoms and drowsiness, followed by dry mouth, cognitive disturbances, rash, congestion, and disturbed sleep.

The study results demonstrated  the at spinal manipulation had an advantage over medication after 8, 12, 26, and 52 weeks.  The home exercise group had better results that the medication group at 26 week.  Interestingly, no important differences in pain were found between spinal manipulation therapy and home exercises at any time.

Patients who received spinal manipulation therapy or home exercises also reported similar improvements in self-reported disability, medication use, general health status, and adverse events. However, patients said they were more satisfied with spinal manipulation than with home exercise.

The important application of this data is how to incorporate the results into practice.  How can I, as your chiropractor, use this to better help my patients with neck pain?  Thankfully, my office is already doing what we need to.  In my office you can expect expert chiropractic care and the exercise instruction that is needed to help speed the recovery.

We offer complete care for your neck pain.  We have have top notch diagnostic equipment, including digital x-ray, physiotherapies like ultrasound and electrical therapy, muscle rehab including stretching and exercise instruction, and spinal manipulation using various techniques.

This is one more study, in a tall stack of studies, that show that chiropractic care is more effective than medication in treating musculoskeletal pain.

Dr Andrew White
Neck Pain Chiropractor

 

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