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Two New Low Back Pain Studies Favor Chiropractic Care

Two New Low Back Pain Studies Favor Chiropractic Care

The Chiro.Org Blog

Thanks to Health Insights Today for drawing our attention to these studies!

A major randomized controlled trial on chronic low back pain was just published in the Clinical Rehabilitation Journal, involving 210 patients (140 women and 70 men) with chronic, non-specific low back pain. These individuals were randomized into 3 groups: spinal manipulation, personalized physiotherapy, or back school. [1]

Chiropractic adjusting (Spinal Manipulation) was associated with much higher functional improvements and long-term pain relief than the other 2 groups after release from care and again at the 12-month follow-up.

The difference in their improved scores is quite dramatic:

Intervention Disability Score Pain Rating
At Discharge
Spinal Manipulation 6.7 +/- 3.9 1.0 +/- 1.1
Individual Physiotherapy 4.4 +/- 3.7 1.1 +/- 1.0
Back School 3.7 +/- 4.1 0.9 +/- 1.1
After 12 months
Spinal Manipulation 5.9 +/- 4.6 1.5 +/- 1.1
Individual Physiotherapy 4.0 +/- 5.1 0.4 +/- 1.3
Back School 4.2 +/- 4.8 0.7 +/- 1.2

NOTE: These numbers indicate the reductions in scores on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire and the Pain Rating Scale.

The second study followed patients with lumbar radiculopathy, secondary to disk herniation. [2] A prospective observational cohort study was conducted at a multidisciplinary, integrated clinic that includes chiropractic and physical therapy health care services. Data on 49 consecutive patients were collected at baseline, at the end of conservative, nonsurgical treatment and a mean of 14.5 months after cessation of treatment. Disability was measured using the Bournemouth Disability Questionnaire (BDQ) and pain using the Numerical Rating Scale for pain. Fear beliefs were measured with the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ). Patients also self-rated improvement.

RESULTS:   Mean duration of complaint was 60.5 weeks. Mean self-rated improvement at the end of treatment was 77.5%. Improvement was described as “good” or “excellent” in nearly 90% of patients. Mean percentage improvement on the BDQ was 60.4%. Numerical Rating Scale improved 4.1 points and FABQ improved 4.8 points. Clinically meaningful improvements in pain and disability were seen in 79% and 70% of patients, respectively. Mean number of visits was 13.2. After an average long-term follow-up of 14.5 months, mean self-rated improvement was 81.1%. “Good” or “excellent” improvement was reported by 80% of patients. Mean percentage improvement in BDQ was 67.4%. Numerical Rating Scale improved 4.2 points and FABQ 4.5 points. Clinically meaningful improvements in pain and disability were seen in 79% and 73% of patients, respectively.

You will find many more studies like this at our:
Low Back Pain and Chiropractic Page


1. Spinal Manipulation Compared with Back School and with Individually Delivered Physiotherapy for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Trial with One-year Follow-up
Clinical Rehabilitation 2010 (Jan); 24 (1): 26–36

2. A Nonsurgical Approach to the Management of Patients With Lumbar Radiculopathy Secondary to Herniated Disk: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study With Follow-Up
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009 (Nov); 32 (9): 723–733

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