The Shocking Truth About Neck Pain! Simple Hot Tub Exercise Better Than Pain Drugs

February 13, 2012

The shocking truth about neck pain is that simple exercises like the  Hot Tub “Chicken Exercise”  and/or chiropractic care are better than drugs for relief.

Look out big pharma. Surprise! Surprise! Doing some simple exercises at home or seeing a chiropractor is more effective than pain killers in getting rid of a painful crick in the neck says a new federally funded study as reported in the New York Times.  In a nutshell, the new research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.

Are you one of the millions of Americans with chronic neck pain? Neck pain affects at least three quarters of Americans at some point in their lives (!), and many take over-the-counter medications, visit doctors or chiropractors in search of relief.  If you’re a sedentary office worker who’s parked in front of a computer screen all day it’s likely you’ve had this particular type of neck pain.

In a study run by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, participants were divided into three groups. The study was designed to answer the question: would spinal manipulation be more effective than home exercise or medication at relieving neck pain after 12 weeks of treatment?

One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions for the length 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 twice 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.  (See the demo at

One very beneficial exercise was dubbed “the chicken”.  Stick your neck out like a chicken walking and pull it back slowly. You have to see it to appreciate it!  It works according to the study. What better place to do the chicken than your hot tub?!?

After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. Over 50% of  those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75% reduction in pain. But only 33% of the people in the medication group reported a reduction in pain.

A year later, 53% of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, with similar results from the exercise group. But only 38% of the medication group reported less pain.

“It was a “big surprise” to see that the home exercises were about as effective as the chiropractic sessions, “ said said Dr. Gert Bronfort, an author of the study and research professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. “We hadn’t expected that they would be that close,” he said. “But I guess that’s good news for patients.”

In addition to their limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other downside: people 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.”

He also expressed concern that those on medications were not as empowered or active in their own care as those in the other groups. “We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible,” he said. “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”

So empower yourself. Learn the exercises and do them at home in your Hot Spring  Spa. The hot water will relax your muscles and increase circulation to the sore area. It’s free, it’s easy and so much better for you than drugs.  And, that’s a fact.

Let us know how you do in the comments section.

SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through water.


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