Q: I am considering going to a Doctor of Chiropractic for my neck pain. Can you tell me about any studies that show how it compares to other options?
A: Patients with chronic neck pain—defined as pain lasting at least 8 weeks—got significant benefit from chiropractic adjustments, according to a recent report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. The report was based on a review of 9 previously published trials. After getting therapy for chronic neck pain, the 9 trials reviewed showed that all trial groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks after the end of treatment. And no group reported any major adverse effects.
Another study published in the Journal of Rheumatology showed results from the largest database review of its kind. This study categorized dozens of treatment options for neck pain as “Strong Evidence” of effectiveness to “No Evidence” of effectiveness, and two or three categories in the middle. The only therapy listed as “strong evidence” was the combination of Chiropractic manipulation and Physical Therapy (for mechanical neck pain with and without radiculopathy). This study included review comparisons of just about every other type of treatment option I have heard of, from acupuncture to NSAIDS to narcotics, and everything in between. That is truly impressive in my opinion – but I see that kind of result every day so it is not surprising to me.
Neck pain is a relatively common affliction, with some 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men estimated to have chronic neck pain at any one time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Spinal manipulation, also referred to as a chiropractic adjustment, is the practice of making sure vertebrae, the bones that make up the spine, have proper alignment and motion. The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics is the leading publication in the field of chiropractic and is the official scientific journal of the American Chiropractic Association. The Journal of Rheumatology is a long time favorite of the medical field and has been a point of reference across multiple specialties for years.
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