Students all over Australia swotting for their final exams should think twice about taking drugs for neck pain. . . that’s the clear message from a landmark US study* into treatment options for neck pain.
Neck pain affects three out of every four people at one stage in their lives, particularly sedentary students doing exams and office workers chained to a desk. In a recent study, research showed that for people with neck pain, chiropractic care had significantly more pain relief than medication. The research also pointed to an in-home exercise program also having greater benefits than medication.
The groups were measured for pain at regular intervals over 52 weeks and the study found that “for participants with acute and subacute neck pain” chiropractic adjustment “was more effective than medication in both the short and long term”. The exercise regime was also found to be more beneficial than medication at most time points.
We hope as a profession that Australians would use this study to examine their reliance on pain killers. While medication can have a place in pain management, this research shows that gentle, drug-free chiropractic care and exercises can be much more effective in relieving neck pain. There are also well documented side-effects, including gastrointestinal problems which can come from extended use of pain-killers.
As a profession it is immensely gratifying to have such results confirmed by independent research. The CAA NT would like to warn people that in most cases neck pain is only a symptom of a neck that has lost function. Treating only the pain can mask problems beneath the surface.
The CAA recommends that students and office workers should limit the amount of time they continually sit at a desk, making sure they take regular short breaks to move around and stretch their muscles. An easy three minute daily spinal health exercises for both children and adults can be downloaded from the Association’s website www.straightenupaustralia.com.au
*Bronfort G, Evans R et al. (2012) Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:1-10.