This came in my mail box this morning (LINK), it's a summary of the results from a recent study comparing neck manipulation/adjustment (that's the service a chiropractor is known for, commonly referred to as "popping" the back; even though it is so much more) plus exercise to drugs.
I love this study for two reasons.
1.) It lumped joint mobilization and exercise together. Although critics of the study may say that is a flaw, I highly disagree. The two, in most cases, should always go together. The natural follow-up to mobilizing joints and tissues of the human body is to provide stability. Exercise does this. Sadly, I feel exercise is a commonly overlooked therapy in most chiropractor's office. This is due to a lot of reasons. Billing, for one. Doc's don't want to have to fight the already irritating insurance companies to get reimbursed for teaching exercises. Time is another thing. Teaching proper movement takes a lot of one on one time that all physicians are short on. Healthcare providers are getting paid less, yet the cost of medical education and overhead for a private practice continues to rise. In order for doctors to stay in business, they have to compensate for the lack in funds with an increase in patients. Lower pay, higher volume. I hate this, it's near impossible to provide healing to a person in 668.7 seconds (see link)! This is a huge problem with our healthcare in general, and a crux of the argument raging inside medicare/medicaid.
2.) It points out a weakness for pharmaceutical intervention with most neck pain. Yet, this is the most common treatment for pain in general. Grab some Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Whatever from the cabinet, chug a glass of water, and out the door you go. This isn't saying drugs are bad, but that for neck pain, they are not your best bet.
If you have neck pain, and adjustments and exercise aren't a part of your treatment, you may be missing the boat. Come see me, you'll be glad you did. And if you don't come see us, stay exercising, stay moving! On a side note, one concern that many have is that adjustment/manipulation of the neck has been linked with tearing of the vertebral artery. Althought this has happened in the past, it is extremely rare, and a skilled chiropractor shouldn't be adjusting that hard anyways. Statistically speaking, you're just as likely to suffer a stroke sitting in a waiting room at your MD's office. PLUS, in any patient that is hesitant about neck adjustments, or I believe to be the slightest bit, even the slightest bit at risk, there are other ways to move joints of the neck without the adjustment, and we use those treatments as well in our office.
Stay healthy, and stay out of pain!