Spinal manipulation by a chiropractor, and at-home exercises taught by a physical therapist may be better at relieving sub-acute neck pain (pain lasting for more than 2-weeks and less than 3-months) than relying on pain-killers, according to researchers from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis.
Researchers divided 272 adults with non-specific neck pain into 3 equal groups- one group received chiropractic treatment, another saw a physical therapist for home exercises and the third group took pain killers. About 57% of those who underwent chiropractic treatment, 48% who did the home exercises and 33% people who took medication reported at least a 75% reduction in pain.
After 12-weeks of treatment it was found that spinal manipulation therapy was superior than taking pain medication in the short and long term. They also found that doing the home exercises were just about as good for the patients as the adjustments. However, the chiropractic
patients expressed more satisfaction with their treatment than did
members of the other groups.
Researchers warn that the safety and effectiveness of each neck pain treatment should be discussed, as manual manipulation of the neck carries a rare but potentially serious risk of stroke.
The study is published in The Annals of Internal Medicine.