Neck Pain: Chiropractic and exercise, the perfect relationship?

I am going to begin by looking at a recent study the results of which are below, it was funded by the National Institutes of Health and tracked 272 patients with recent-onset neck pain who were treated using three different methods:

  1. Medication
  2. Exercise
  3. A Chiropractor

After 12 weeks the patients who used a chiropractor or exercised were more than twice as likely to be pain free compared to those who relied on medicine.
The patients treated by a chiropractor experienced the highest rate of success with 32 percent saying they were pain free, compared to 30 percent of those who exercised. Only 13 percent of patients treated with medication said they no longer experienced pain.

ABC news, a popular american news station interviewed some Medical Doctors about the results: “Doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Dr. Lee Green, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan told ABC News. “Neck pain is a mechanical problem, and it makes sense that mechanical treatment works better than a chemical one.”
Dr. John Messmer who specializes in family medicine at Penn State College of Medicine agrees. “I always prescribe exercises and/or physical therapy for neck pain,” he wrote. “I also tell patients that the exercises are the treatment and the drugs are for the symptoms.”

A Chiropractors view
As a Chiropractor myself, we always recommend Chiropractic treatment along with a personally prescribed exercise plan. Part of your chiropractic treatment is to receive advice on which stretches and exercises to perform. The exercises are designed to train areas of your body so that it is less likely to re-injure itself. We also give ergonomic advice, advice for around the house and advice on the correct nutrition to aid you in healing faster. Exercises are usually given after one or two treatments once a patient is out of pain and can move a bit better. You must be careful as exercise during the acute phases may increase the pain levels and actually hinder progression. This is because the inflamed areas can get further irritated by the compressing, stretching and pulling movements aggravating the injury.

What to expect
It’s crucial for everyone to know that Chiropractic is more then just hands on treatment, Chiropractors assess all contributing factors and give you advice to correct each possible factor that may have led to the injury onset. Once out of injury or even before they get injured many people see their Chiropractor like they would see their dentist, for a regular spinal and body check up. Some people bring their whole family on a regular basis to see their Chiropractor to make sure their whole families spines are healthy and that they are looking after themselves well enough to prevent injury. During these visits a Chiropractor will check to see if any part of the body could lead to future discomfort and to see if their patient has been performing their exercises correctly to prevent injury or re-injury.

This Chiropractor’s ‘Dream’
Chiropractic and exercise go hand in hand, on their own they are ok, but together they are unbeatable. In a perfect world everyone would see their Chiropractor on a regular basis for regular check ups like a dentist, this is the dream as back pain is one of the leading causes of work absence. Think about it!!, if we all saw a Chiropractor regularly we would have less days off as a country due to back pain which would lead to a boost in the economy and decrease our taxes!!… what do you think?, it’s a nice dream, let’s make it happen ;-).

Remember, “prevention is better than cure”.

Forer, B. (2012). Neck Pain: Chiropractors, Exercise Better Than Medication, Study Says. Available: Last accessed 22nd March 2012.

I hope this has helped you understand a bit more about your body and Chiropractic, If you have any questions on this topic send me an e-mail at

If you live in Gloucester or surrounding areas and are interested my Chiropractic services and what I can do to help you, then book an appointment to see Danny at the Longlevens Chiropractic and Sports Injury Clinic on 01452 309372


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