You don’t realize how debilitating neck pain can be until you experience it. My first experience visiting a chiropractor when I was young was due to neck pain following a car accident. Unfortunately I waited for chronic, moderate pain to become excruciating before seeing my Mom’s chiropractor. Thank God I did something about it and started seeing a chiropractor, I couldn’t imagine living with that level of pain daily.
Here was an article on neck pain in the New York Times today: For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs.
Here’s the general summary:
The study was conducted by Dr Gert Bronfort at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. 272 people suffering neck pain, were followed for three months. They were place in three groups: one saw a chiropractor, the other did exercises and the third group was assigned a common pain medication like acetaminophen.
After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75 percent reduction in neck pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group.
Even one year later the group that received chiropractic care was significantly better with respect to neck pain than those in the drug group. The group doing exercises were much better than the drug group as well.
And unfortunately, those that were taking the drugs had to take a higher amount of medication at the follow-up a year later just to control pain. And as Dr Bronfort added, “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”
I guess it showed what chiropractors have been saying for a long time: take care of the underlying problem, don’t just cover up the symptoms.
In other words, if you’re getting neck pain due to joints that aren’t moving properly and you just take drugs, the problem isn’t going to go away – it’s going to worsen.
As a chiropractor my other concern is that if you don’t restore normal joint (spinal) motion, you’re going to be experiencing accelerated spinal degeneration.
- wear and tear
- spinal decay
- spondylosis, etc.
So the moral of the story – take care of little problems before they become big problems. Whether it’s neck pain, or some other pain, don’t try to mask the problem with drugs, take care of the underlying problem. In the long-haul, your body will thank you for it.