A solution for chronic neck pain

Research brief June 2014

Many of our patients come in with pain that they have dealt with for years. Some have had treatment by other healthcare providers, even other chiropractors, that has not resolved their pain and have just gotten used to living with it. Others have written it off as a sign of aging and have just gotten used to it. At some point they throw in the towel or a friend/family member twists their arm enough and they decide to come in to our office for chiropractic care. After years of living with their neck pain or other ailment, they begin to feel better and will commonly tell us “I don’t know why I waited so long to get help for this.”

Ideally, people wouldn’t wait so long to get help. They would call their chiropractor at the first sign of pain. Or better yet, they would routinely visit their chiropractor to maintain optimal function of their spine and prevent back and neck pain. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case, and it is unfortunate because chronic pain can often take longer to resolve than an acute episode of pain. In other words, the longer you have been suffering the more difficult it can be to heal.

Chiropractic research has come a long way in the recent past. It is becoming more mainstream as it gains more and more evidence to support its efficacy and as more people open their minds to other options besides traditional medical care for their spine. This article is valuable because it shows good evidence that chiropractic adjustments can cause significant improvement in chronic neck pain. Much of the research that supports chiropractic care shows that it is effective for acute pain, or pain that began within the past month or so. Evidence for the value of chiropractic care for chronic, or long term pain, has been lacking. In my experience and that of thousands of other chiropractors, though, it seems as though the evidence has not quite caught up to reality. As a case in point, we recently saw a patient in their 20’s who complained of pain from the neck to the low back occurring daily for the last 6-7 years. After three weeks of care this patient reported 85% improvement and was no longer feeling pain on a daily basis. This is not representative of every patient we see, but it does show that chiropractic care may be a great option for you if you are in chronic pain.