Are Chiropractic Care and Exercise More Effective than Pain Medication?
Throughout South Carolina and the United States as a whole, millions of people are enduring severe and even disabling back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Many of these individuals see their family doctor for treatment and end up relying on pain medications, like extra strength Tylenol, anti-inflammatory medications, and opioids like Vicodin.
What most of these individuals are unaware of is the fact that chiropractic care and exercise have both been shown to be far more effective treatments for back, shoulder, and neck pain than any medication. That isn’t to say that there aren’t situations where medication is the best approach, but studies have revealed that a lot of people could improve their conditions through chiropractic adjustments and/or exercise, minimizing the need for medication.
The Evidence in Favor of Chiropractic Care and Exercise Over Medication
In 2012, the National Institutes of Health funded a study to measure the effects of chiropractic care, exercise, and medication on those who experience severe, debilitating, and chronic neck pain. The results revealed that medication was actually not the most effective method of treating such pain. The study included more than 270 patients over a period of three months. It found that 32% of the patients who were treated with chiropractic care experienced total relief from their pain. A further 30% who only exercised experienced total pain relief. In comparison to these numbers, just 13% of patients who only took pain medication experienced total relief from their neck pain. Imagine the impact of combining chiropractic care with exercise!
How Exercise Improves the Outlook for Back and Neck Pain Patients
Exercise is effective at minimizing back and neck pain for a few different reasons. For starters, it helps to improve the patient’s posture and range of motion. It further addresses the actual source of the pain for many patients and strengthens the muscles that support the spine and the weight of your head. Exercise improves the functionality and flexibility of the spine.
In many cases, people suffer from back and neck pain due to poor posture, especially when it comes to people who have to drive a lot or spend a lot of time at a computer desk. The poor posture causes pain, which then further impairs posture, in a vicious cycle of pain. In the study, the patients who used exercise alone to treat their neck pain were using a particular program of exercises that were intended to improve their posture while sitting. The fact that it worked for so many people is excellent news for anyone who currently relies on pain medication.
Learn about some effective exercises for improving back, neck and shoulder pain from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NRCWE) at http://www.arbejdsmiljoforskning.dk/en/projekter/rehabilitering-af-muskelsmerter-i-nakken–ramin.
How Chiropractic Care Improves the Outlook for Back and Neck Pain Patients
Chiropractors are professionals who have been trained in managing musculoskeletal issues, and chiropractic care was found to be effective, all on its own, for 32% of patients in the 2012 NIH study (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/24/chiropractors-and-exercise-better-than-drug.aspx).
The graduate training for a chiropractor is usually between four and six years, and during this time, he or she receives the education necessary to become an expert in musculoskeletal management, such as managing back and neck pain through spinal adjustments. These spinal adjustments improve the alignment of your spine to relieve pressure and pain.
Other Options for Treating and Relieving Back and Neck Pain
A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or DO is also trained in spinal adjustments, so many people receive such care from an osteopathic physician. Even so, a DO does not necessarily receive the very same training as a chiropractor. The best thing to do to ensure that you receive the best treatment is to talk to your DO and/or a chiropractor about their experience and expertise, so that you can make an informed decision about your healthcare.
Those patients who combine chiropractic care or osteopathic care, like spinal adjustments, with a regular exercise routine experience the best results when it comes to managing, reducing, and in many cases, completely eliminating their back and neck pain. Therapeutic massage can also help with such symptoms, as can less traditional forms of treatment like acupuncture.
What You Should Know About Managing Pain with Pain Relieving Medications
Pain medication is among the most common forms of treating back and neck pain that could otherwise be relieved by chiropractic care and exercise. However, many of the people who rely on such medications to get through the day don’t realize all of the associated risks. For example, those who take anti-inflammatory medications are two to four times more likely to have a serious health condition or event, such as a heart attack or a stroke. They are further at risk of developing gastrointestinal issues, kidney issues, and high blood pressure. Even over the counter medications can create these risks, including medications like Aspirin and Advil.
Even Tylenol comes with risks, which have resulted in limitations from the FDA concerning how much acetaminophen can be used in medications and requirements for warning labels. These labels have to warn you about risk of liver toxicity because of the high rate of acute liver failure in patients who take acetaminophen in the US.
When it comes to prescription opioid medications like Vicodin and OxyContin, you have the risk of addiction and overdose to worry about, along with the risk of others getting a hold of your medication to use recreationally. If you take such medications, it is important to monitor your dose and keep your medication in a secure location. The less you take, the better off you’ll be, and if you can seek out other treatment options instead, you’ll be healthier overall.
Learn More About the Benefits of Chiropractic Care Combined with Exercise
To learn more about how chiropractic care can help you manage and even eliminate your neck and back pain, especially when combined with appropriate exercises, contact the Chiropractic Health Center to schedule an appointment. You could improve your health and your quality of life without medication with the intervention of chiropractic care and regular exercise.