Addition of chiropractic care to usual medical care is associated with improvements in low back pain intensity, says study. 62.6% of patients in the study receiving usual medical care (UMC) plus chiropractic care had improved by a statistically significant amount. Low back pain can be caused by problems with the spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons. Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine.
Goertz et al conducted a study to find whether the addition of chiropractic care to usual medical care improves outcomes for patients with low back pain (LBP)in military health care settings.
The research involved 750 patients aged 18 -50 years who were serving in the military in 3 states and had acute or chronic LBP. The patients were allocated to UMC alone or to UMC plus chiropractic care. Usual medical care often included the prescription of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and referral to physical therapy. Chiropractic care most often included spinal manipulation, electric muscle stimulation, heat or cold therapy, and exercise recommendations.
The study found that at the end of the 6-week treatment period, patients in the group receiving UMC plus chiropractic care had significantly greater improvements in pain and function than those in the UMC group.
At 6 weeks, 62.6% of patients in the group receiving UMC plus chiropractic care had improved by a statistically significant ratio. Percentages with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in pain were also higher in the group receiving UMC plus chiropractic care compared with those receiving UMC alone: at 6 weeks, 57.5% vs 32.5%, respectively.
Superior outcomes for the group receiving UMC plus chiropractic care were largely maintained after 12 weeks, 6 weeks after chiropractic care had ended. No serious adverse effects were identified.
The study concluded that the trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for low back pain, as currently recommended in existing guidelines,” the authors write.
The study was published online in JAMA Network
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