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Consumer Reports Rates Alternative Therapies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Millions of Americans every year try alternative therapies to avoid going under the knife.

Some include acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, but how helpful are these and other alternative treatments?

Consumer Reports asked its readers to rate them, along with prescription and over the counter medications. Here's the break down.

In the survey, Consumer Reports found that its readers prefer hands-on treatments such as chiropractic care and deep-tissue massage to relieve back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis.

In the case of back pain, chiropractic care outperformed prescription medicine.

In fact, according to Gayle Williams from Consumer Reports, "Sixty-five percent of those surveyed using chiropractic treatments for back pain said they helped a lot. Only 53 percent using prescription medications found them as helpful."

Jonathan Goldberg thought that receiving chiropractic care helped him to avoid back surgery that another doctor told him he might need.

"I haven't had even the smallest recurrence of anything other than stiffness for over eight years now." he said.

But how do these alternative treatments stand up against other medical conditions?

In the Consumer Reports National Research Center survey, alternative treatments were not found to be as helpful with many other medical conditions such as depression. In this case, prescription medicine was found to be more helpful.

When it comes to colds, the flu and allergies, prescription medications were proven to be much more helpful than nutritional supplements like vitamin C.

Some alternative treatments in certain cases may help, but Consumer Reports advises checking with your doctor first.

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