Chiropractic vs Prescription Drugs: New study shows chiropractic care is more effective than drugs for neck pain

chiropractic vs prescription drugs

Chiropractic vs Prescription Drugs

A new study on the effectiveness of treatments for neck pain has been conducted. Neck pain is a growing problem that affects three quarters of Americans at some point in their lives but has no proven first-line treatment (O’Connor). The study, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine  in early 2012, compares three treatments for neck pain. In the battle between chiropractic vs prescription drugs the study shows that chiropractic care along with exercise is more effective in subduing neck pain than pain relieving drugs.

More and more people are beginning to realize that there are options for relief other than taking multiple Aspirin, Tylenol, or prescription pain medications a day. For years chiropractors have preached that pain is not the problem but a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, therefore pain medication will only put off the problem not resolve it. Thanks to new research we now know that not only does pain medication cover up the problem, it isn’t as effective as chiropractic care or exercise is at providing pain relief.


The following study examines the levels of pain relief provided by chiropractic care, exercise, and medication. The goal of the researchers was to find which treatment most effectively relieved neck pain in the participants in the ongoing effort to determine the battle between chiropractic vs prescription drugs.

The Study

To conduct this study researches separated 272 adults experiencing neck pain lasting more than 2 weeks and no more than 3 months into 3 separate groups. The first group received chiropractic care, the second were prescribed pain medications from a doctor, and the third group saw a specialist twice who showed them exercises they could perform at home for pain relief. Each treatment was evaluated over 12 weeks and then again at 6 months and 12 months after the start of treatment. Participant’s disability levels, medication use, health, overall improvement, and satisfaction with their particular care were all taken into account.


At the end of the 12 week and the 12 month evaluations spinal manipulations performed by a chiropractor were shown to be more effective than medication at improving neck pain. Participants in the third group who used exercise to relieve pain saw similar improvement to those who received chiropractic adjustments however, those who were under chiropractic care were more satisfied with their improvement.

Unlike medication and neck exercises chiropractic care focuses on whole body healing and health. So when when it comes to chiropractic vs prescription drugs…we want to know your thoughts.  

Have you tried these methods for pain relief? Comment below to tell us which method worked best for you.

1. O’Connor, Anahad. “For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs.” New York Times Health, 01 03 2012. Web. Web. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/for-neck-pain-chiropractic-and-exercise-are-better-than-drugs/>.
2. Bronfort, G., R. Evans, A.V. Anderson, K.H. Svendsen, Y. Bracha, and R.H. Grimm. “Is Spinal Manipulation an Effective Treatment for Neck Pain?.” Annals of Internal Medicine, 01 03 2012. Web. <http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1033288>.

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