If you’ve got a pain in the neck, you’re not alone. Nearly three in every four adults will experience neck pain at some point (and that doesn’t even take into account dealing with teenagers!).
And now I’m going to make up a statistic: More than half of those with neck pain will attempt to self-medicate with over-the-counter painkillers.
That might not be a provable statistic, but we know this for sure: A lot of people do it and it’s more dangerous than they think.
Happily, there’s a much safer way to erase that pain in your neck.
Increasing dosage for less relief
In a new study, drugs reduced neck pain. For some. But returns diminished over time, while risk increased.
Neck pain in this study ranged from acute to subacute. Which sounds like another way of saying “nagging and annoying.”
More than 270 adults with neck pain were divided into three groups.
For three months, one group received chiropractic sessions at least once each week. One group did simple neck exercises. The third group received OTC drugs such as acetaminophen. Some took prescription drugs such as muscle relaxants.
A percentage of each group reported at least 75% reduction in pain…
Chiropractic group — 57%
Exercise group — 48%
Drug group — 33%
In a follow-up a year later, relief was still significantly higher in the chiropractic and exercise groups. Many in the drug group said they needed to take more painkillers more often just to maintain their level of relief.
Needless to say, if the subjects in this group continued with medication, they set themselves up for disaster. Gastrointestinal damage, liver damage, increased risk of heart problems, drug dependency and other side effects will eventually make neck pain a minor issue.
Drugs lose. Pain wins.
One quick side note: This study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, of the National Institutes of Health. So chalk up yet another success to silence the NCCAM naysayers.
“Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain” Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 156, No. 1, 1/3/12, annals.org