Finding Back Pain Relief: Chiropractic Care Versus Medication, Exercise, Masage And Lifestyle Changes

Back pain is one of the most common sources of physical pain in the world, and most people suffer from this type of pain at some point in their lives. Because the problem is so common, it has a variety of solutions including chiropractic care, like from Chiropractor Plus, medication, exercise, lifestyle changes and even surgery. Wondering what you should try? Study after study identifies chiropractic care as the most effective remedy, but here's a look at how it measures up to some of the other pain relief methods:

1. Medication

If you have an ache or a pain, it makes sense to reach for the painkillers, but even with over the counter painkillers, you are simply blocking your brain's ability to notice the pain. The medication does not heal the pain in any way. In some cases, medication may even dull your senses to the point that you continue to move your back in a detrimental way that causes even more pain or damage.

In a study comparing 272 patients' responses to medication, exercise and chiropractic adjustments over a 12 week period, chiropractic adjustments proved to be more effective than medication. At the end of the 12 week period, 32 percent of the participants who received chiropractic care reported having no pain. In contrast, only 13 percent of those treated with medication reported feeling pain free.

Ideally, patients should use medications as necessary to reduce pain or swelling, but they should see a chiropractor to address their mechanical issues.

2. Exercise

Exercise was also weighed against medication and chiropractic adjustments in the above study, and those who exercised experienced almost as much pain relief as those treated by a chiropractor. Thirty percent of the exercising patients reported being pain free by the end of the trial, a mere two points lower than the group receiving chiropractic care.

Exercise is an effective back pain eliminator because it strengthens the muscles holding up your back. Much back pain is the result of weak, inflexible or spazzing muscles, but the right exercises make it easier for your body to hold you upright.

Keep in mind that a great deal of back pain occurs as a result of motions repeated over a long time period. Exercise counteracts this process by moving your body in new and empowering ways. Chiropractic adjustments also try to counterbalance years of repetitive motions, but adjustments have the power to do so much more quickly and more dramatically than exercise. Additionally, if done incorrectly, exercise can create more pain and damage. Ideally, patients should have an exercise regime that has been approved by their chiropractor, and they should have a physical therapist guide them through their first few sessions to ensure they are doing the exercises correctly.

3. Massage

In one survey, deep-tissue massage ranked just below chiropractic care in terms of effective back pain relief. Medical researchers cite pressure as the reason for its efficacy. Hands-on pressure, especially deep-tissue massage, simulates a cascade of restorative biological effects.   

Unfortunately, like exercise, massage can damage you if done incorrectly. For that reason, it is critical to work with a skilled and reputable massage therapist. Ideally, consider pursuing both massage and chiropractic care – that is easy to facilitate as most chiropractor offer in-office massages.

4. Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes to reduce back pain include exercising, practicing good posture, eating healthy foods, quitting smoking, sleeping more and reducing your stress levels. All of these elements can reduce back pain, but few studies exist comparing lifestyle changes with chiropractic care. Rather than pitting these two strategies against one another, patients should embrace lifestyle changes with chiropractic care. That increases the chances of their adjustments working effectively and creating permanent results.