Medications play an important pain management role in our lives, but the downside is they sometimes do come with side effects. Whenever you can take a natural or holistic approach to pain relief, it is almost always the best option. Now a study is helping back that claim.

A study released earlier this year, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has found that chiropractic care and exercise are superior to medication for neck pain. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study tracked 272 patients who recently experienced neck pain and were either treated exercise, chiropractic, or medication. After 12 weeks, the patients who were seeing a chiropractor or were exercising had over twice the chance to be pain free when compared to those who relied on medicine.

Chiropractors and chiropractic proponents can rejoice, as their preferred treatment brought the highest rate of success. Of those who saw a chiropractor, 32 percent said they were pain free after treatment, compared to 30 percent of those who exercised. Just 13 percent of patients who were treated with medication said they no longer experienced pain.

According to one doctor, it’s all about the mechanics of your body.

“Doesn’t surprise me a bit,” said Dr. Lee Green, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan. “Neck pain is a mechanical problem, and it makes sense that mechanical treatment works better than a chemical one.”

“I always prescribe exercises and/or physical therapy for neck pain,” writes Dr. John Messmer, a family medicine specialist at Penn State College of Medicine. “I also tell patients that the exercises are the treatment and the drugs are for the symptoms.”

Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain

Some neck conditions known to improve with chiropractic care include cervical intervertebral disc injuries, cervical sprain injuries, degenerative joint syndrome of the neck, facet joint sprain, and whiplash. In some of these cases there is an exception when surgery is required.

If you have neck pain and want to consider going to a chiropractor, here are just a few of the techniques a chiropractor may use.

Spinal Manipulation

Flexion-distraction technique - A gentle spinal manipulation with the hands that involves a “pumping” movement on the intervertebral disc rather than direct force.

Instrument-assisted manipulation - The use of a hand-held device to enable a chiropractor to apply force without thrusting into the spine.

Specific spinal manipulation - This helps restore joint movement using a gentle thrusting technique.

Manual Therapies

Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy - The use of special instruments to diagnose and treat muscle tension.

Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques - An approach that can help reduce neck pain and other symptoms.

Therapeutic massage - Helps relax tense muscles.

Trigger point therapy - Used on points of a muscle that are tight and painful.

Additional chiropractic treatments for neck pain include ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

Author's Bio: 

Jason Knapfel is Content Manager at Webfor, an Internet marketing company. One of their clients is Hwy 99 Chiropractic, Chiropractors in Vancouver WA.