Neck Pain Studies Show Chiropractic Adjustments
PLUS Exercises (Even at Home) Can Work
BETTER than Drugs and Painkillers

Neck pain is an all-too-common complaint heard in doctors’ offices, and while many patients expect to be given advice about over-the-counter medications or a prescription for a narcotic to relieve their symptoms, this may not be the most effective approach to treatment. The results of a new study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine found that chiropractic adjustments or exercises are a safe and effective alternative for neck pain.

Up to 75% of Americans experience neck pain at some point during their lives; chiropractic adjustments work better than pain medications for relief, according to new research.

Approximately three out of four Americans will experience acute neck pain at some point during their lifetime. This single health complaint adds up to millions of dollars in healthcare costs every year for office visits and medications to treat the complaint.

Neck pain can have a negative impact on many aspects of your life. It can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, which causes a domino effect of difficulty concentrating, lower-than-usual tolerance for frustration and dealing with stress. Irritability is a common side effect of being in pain, which leads to difficulties in all types of personal and professional relationships.

Taking medications to treat your neck pain seems like a logical choice, since it has the potential to make the problem go away. But, at best, the medications only mask the pain, and at worst, they can create a whole other set of health issues. Long-term use of pain medications can lead to dependency, and addiction to prescription drugs is a very real, and growing issue plaguing Americans.

Risk versus Benefits of Medications for Pain

All medications, whether they are available by prescription or over the counter, have side effects. Before using any type of drug, a patient and his or her doctor needs to evaluate whether the potential benefit (reduction or elimination of pain) outweighs the potential risk of taking them.

Reading the label on a bottle of an NSAID pain medication like ibuprofen will reveal a number of health warnings. These types of drugs are usually taken with food, since they can cause stomach upset, and people with gastrointestinal disorders are cautioned not to use them, as they can lead to serious gastrointestinal ulcers, bleeding and kidney failure. An estimated 107,000 people must be hospitalized due to gastrointestinal complications from NSAIDs every year!

Narcotic pain medications, which are available only by prescription, have even more side effects. For that reason, their use is closely controlled. These medications have the potential for misuse and can be addictive. People who start using this drug may find they need to take higher doses to get pain relief and that they are unable to stop using it on their own, which is a much more serious health issue than the neck pain they originally sought treatment for. In fact, opioid overdoses, one type of narcotic, have killed more people since 2003 than heroin and cocaine combined.


  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States (which is often deadly)
  • Aspirin can increase your risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding by 30 percent
  • Celebrex, a popular prescription NSAID, raises your risk of heart attack by 250% if you take 400 mg doses and by 340% if you take 800 mg doses

Alternative Therapies for Neck Pain

People with neck pain tried regular chiropractic care, home exercises, or medications for pain relief; those who received chiropractic care had the highest percentage of pain relief – and the relief typically continued for at least 12 months.

The Annals of Internal Medicine study followed a group of 272 adults who had neck pain for between two and 12 weeks. Participants in the study were divided into three groups:

  • One visited a chiropractor regularly
  • One took medications for pain relief
  • One was given instructions on therapeutic exercises that could be done at home to relieve neck pain

After 12 weeks, over half (57 percent) of the study participants reported a 75 percent reduction in their level of pain, but participants who were placed in one of the non-drug therapy groups reported a higher level of pain relief than those who were placed in the medication group. The chiropractic group reported the highest percentage of pain relief (48 percent), while only 33 percent of participants who took medication reported a similar level of relief.

Chiropractic Care Leads to Long-Term Relief from Neck Pain

The long-term results of treating neck pain with non-medicinal treatment methods were also noteworthy. A full 12 months after the start of the study, the participants who had been placed in the chiropractic treatment and home exercise groups were still experiencing benefits. Over half (53 percent) of the participants in these two groups reported a 75 percent reduction in their level of pain. The group that was given pain medication to treat their neck pain, on the other hand, reported only a 38 percent reduction in pain relief one year after the start of the study.

More Pain Medication Needed Over Time

The study participants who were assigned to the pain medication group also reported that they were taking higher doses of medication over time. This is not surprising, since many people develop a tolerance for painkillers when the medication is taken on a regular basis, requiring higher (and more dangerous) doses to get relief.

Chiropractic Treatment is Effective for Neck Pain

Instead of taking medication to treat neck pain, chiropractic adjustments are a safer, more effective option. There are none of the side effects associated with taking medication, and you do not have to be concerned about addiction or having to be weaned off a powerful painkiller when their course of treatment is finished.

Chiropractic care gets to the root of the neck pain, instead of simply treating the pain. The gentle movement of a Leander chiropractic table can help to reduce pain and speed up the healing process, without resorting to using medications, which are clearly dangerous, as well as ineffective when compared to natural treatment methods.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are living with neck pain, call today to book an appointment to find out how we can help you. Your initial appointment should include a detailed health history, including any chronic illnesses. Be sure to tell us about any prior injuries to your neck and what, if any, circumstances led to your current neck pain.

You will also need to share any medications you are currently taking. This includes any prescription drugs, as well as over-the counter preparations, vitamins, or nutritional remedies.

Neck pain is a common health complaint, but that doesn’t mean that you should simply grin and bear it, or reach for a pill bottle to get relief. For long-term relief, chiropractic treatments are a safe and effective choice for identifying and addressing the cause often and with immediate relief (vs. temporary drug treatments of the pain symptoms which can sadly lead to additional health problems listed as WARNINGS on most drug containers)!

There is no reason to suffer. Make an appointment today if you are experiencing neck pain.


US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Bronfort G et al. Spinal manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: a randomized trial Ann Intern Med.;156(1 Pt 1):1-10. Benyamin R. et al. Opioid Complications and Side Effects. Pain Physician 11:S105-S120.

USA Today Liz Szabo. Prescriptions now biggest cause of fatal drug overdoses.

MedlinePlus. Ibuprofen IMPORTANT WARNING

The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 105, Issue 1, Supplement 2 , Pages 31S-38S

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, / 61(01);10-13

Arch Intern Med.

New England Journal Medicine; 355:885-895