New research published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and exercise more effective at relieving neck pain than pain medication. The study divided participants into three groups that received either SMT from a doctor of chiropractic, pain medication (over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants) or exercise recommendations. After 12 weeks, about 57 percent of those who met with DCs and 48 percent who exercised reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group. After one year, approximately 53 percent of the drug-free groups still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain; compared to just 38 percent pain reduction among those who took medication.
The study, funded by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine and co-authored by ACA’s 2011 Researcher of the Year Dr. Roni Evans, is making headlines across the country. The results of the study have appeared in AARP Blog, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, WebMD and “World News with Diane Sawyer” among other media outlets.