If you endure frequent neck and back pain, chances are you've come to accept soreness as a fact of life — but it doesn't have to be that way. According to a new report, millions of Americans who suffer from aches in their necks and backs are managing the discomfort in interesting ways.
According to the most recent Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Annual Report, which was released in October 2018, most adults commonly experience neck and back pain. In almost two-thirds of cases, the pain is significant enough to cause people to seek professional care. Not surprisingly, the adults surveyed said they preferred to see a spine-care specialist as opposed to a general practitioner.
In the past, medications like ibuprofen were the first line of defense. However, according to Gallup's report, a majority of Americans (79 percent) said they'd prefer testing other methods — like yoga, hot patches, and massage — before taking pain medication.
Looking for non-drug therapies before opting for prescription medications is in line with the American College of Physicians' (ACP) recommendations, and shows a shift on the part of institutions toward pushing for natural treatment options first. The ACP's guidelines suggest doctors only offer medications, even over-the-counter pain relievers, as a last resort. The medical organization recommends that sufferers try some non-pharma fixes first, like acupuncture and massage therapy. Surprisingly, even placebos worked better than meds.
In fact, the ACP strongly suggested that back-pain sufferers not bother going to the doctor at all. The organization said low back pain was like the common cold — annoying, but it goes away on its own if you just go about your regular life.
If a person's backache goes on for more than three months, then these MDs suggested trying ibuprofen or aspirin — and continuing physical therapy, massage, or exercising. In fact, after reviewing the evidence, the ACP said that such common back pain remedies as steroid injections and acetaminophen (Tylenol) didn't work at all.
New guidelines and shifting attitudes toward more natural remedies may begin to lower pain-killer addiction, which frequently starts when doctors prescribe these powerful meds as back pain remedies.
Scroll down to see some simple exercises you can do at home or the office to help tighten your core and avoid back pain.