Chiropractic Visits and Exercise Better than Meds

I loved seeing this article in the NY Times a few days ago. FINALLY, we have a study that shows that chiropractic visits and exercise are much more effective for long-term pain relief than pain pills. This is great news! Finally a study that shows that the body is enough. We no longer need to mask the pain with cortisone shots or NSAIDs. We see so many clients who are on pain meds and are wanting to ween themselves off of them. This should be an encouraging study for them!

The researchers split the groups into three catagories:

One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits. A second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen and — in some cases, at the discretion of a doctor — stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants. The third group met on two occasions with physical therapists who gave them instructions on simple, gentle exercises for the neck that they could do at home. They were encouraged to do 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise up to eight times a day. (A demonstration of the exercises can be found at

According to the article, the results were “a big surprise”:

A year later, when the researchers checked back in, 53 percent of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. That compared to just a 38 percent pain reduction among those who had been taking medication.

Dr. Bronfort said it was a “big surprise” to see that the home exercises were about as effective as the chiropractic sessions. “We hadn’t expected that they would be that close,” he said. “But I guess that’s good news for patients.”

What was scary about the medication group was that not only were meds the least effective approach to pain relief, the members of that group also kept taking them!

“The people in the medication group kept on using a higher amount of medication more frequently throughout the follow-up period, up to a year later,” Dr. Bronfort said. “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”

What I want you to realize from this is that your body is enough. You can’t simply address the site of the pain through pills, shots or any other symptom-specific treatment. The body, when given the chance, has an amazing ability to heal itself! What’s cool is that the study looked at the combination of body alignment and proper muscle engagement. I like to think of that combination as Egoscue!

QUESTION: What has been your experience with Egoscue, chiropractic visits, and/or physical therapy?