Getting treated by a chiropractor and taking light exercise may be the best way to relieve neck pain, according to new research.
The support group Arthritis Ireland says the findings underline the fact that arthritis and muscular pain require more than just a drug-treatment approach.
Researchers found that this type of non-medical treatment results in better outcomes than common pain relief drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
The study involved more than 270 adults suffering from different types of neck pain, who were divided into three groups.
One group had sessions with a chiropractor, and the second group took common pain medication. The third group was given advice from a chiropractor and encouraged to do a set of gentle exercises
After 12 weeks, the group that received spinal manipulation therapy from the chiropractor had significantly less pain than patients from the group took pain medication.
This was still the case after six months and one year.
It was found that 32% of the patients treated by a chiropractor and 30% of those who exercised reported being completely pain free, compared to just 13 per cent of the group treated with medication.
The study, conducted by a team from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
A spokesperson for Arthritis Ireland said physical therapy and regular exercise, along with keeping a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, make a big difference to how a person lives with a chronic condition.