New Study Says Exercise and Chiropractic care Are Better than Medicine Prescribed by your Doctor.
“Chronic pain” is an progressively common condition which affects an estimated 76.5 million Americans annually, one-third of whom describe their pain as intense and “disabling”. A large percentage suffer from neck pain, which places third as the most common type of pain according to the American Pain Foundation. Estimates say 70 percent of people suffer from neck pain during some point in their lives but research into effective treatments is shockingly limited.
If you visit a conventional medical doctor for pain, there’s about a 100 % likelihood you’ll leave with a prescription for a behind the counter (BTC) version of either a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), or even an opioid based pharmaceutical drug such as Vicodin or OxyContin, as these are the normal procedure for pain in the conventional western medical world.
However, there are better choices than pharmaceuticals for neck pain, not only in terms of pain relief, but also in helping to treat the underlying cause of the pain so that healing can truly occur.
New Study Shows Physical activity and Chiropractic Care get better results than Drugs for Neck Pain
According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, prescription medecine is not the best approach for treating neck pain.
After observing 272 neck-pain patients for 12 weeks, “those who used a chiropractor or physical exercise were beyond twice as likely to be pain free compared to those who took medicine “.
• 32 percent who received chiropractic attention became pain free.
• 30 percent of those who exercised became pain free.
• 13 percent of those treated with medication became pain free.
“For individuals with acute and subacute neck pain, SMT [spinal manipulation therapy] was more successful than medication in both the short and long term. However, a few instructional sessions of HEA [home exercise with advice] resulted in similar outcomes at most time points.”
Why Exercise is Important if You Have Neck Pain.
Exercise commonly leads to strengthened posture, range of motion and useful functionality of your body, it can help remedy the underlying source of your pain as well as help prevent chronic neck pain from developing in the first place. Exercise helps prevent and diminish pain through a number of mechanisms including strengthening key supporting muscles and restoring flexibility. Additionally, the improved blood flow in the region assists in bringing increased oxygen and other valuable nutrients.
Repetitive stress injuries have become significantly more common as so many folks spend most of their work days sitting in front of computers. Computer work is associated with neck pain primarily originating from the trapezius muscle and many types of neck pain can be traced back to weak posture at work or during your commute.
It’s a vicious cycle as substandard sitting posture leads to neck pain and once neck pain develops, it can make your posture even worse . For instance, one study showed people with chronic neck pain demonstrate a reduced ability to maintain an upright posture when distracted.
The same study also revealed that after following an exercise program which focused on the neck muscles, people with neck pain had strengthened their ability to maintain a neutral cervical posture during prolonged periods of sitting, which implies it may help break the weak posture/neck pain pattern. Other study has similarly shown that exercise is remarkably advantageous for treating neck pain including:
• Research in the Journal of Applied Physiology discovered that repetitive strain injury caused by office work can be cut down using certain strength training exercises.
• A study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism showed that strength training focus on the neck and shoulder muscles is the most useful treatment for women with chronic neck muscle pain as opposed to a general fitness routine.
This indicates that while a overall exercise regime is a good thing for all of us, targeting our weak areas that are highly stressed by our environment is of huge value. Perhaps the best analogy is “we are only as strong as our weakest link”. Chiropractors can undeniably help, but we must individually take control of and own our health.