Chiropractic Management for Veterans with Neck Pain:
A Retrospective Study of Clinical Outcomes

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SOURCE:   J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 (Oct); 34 (8): 533–538

Andrew S. Dunn, DC, MEd, MS, Bart N. Green, DC, MSEd, Lance R. Formolo, DC, MS, David R. Chicoine

Chiropractic Department, Medical Care Line, VA Western New York, Buffalo, NY, USA.

OBJECTIVE:   The purpose of this study was to report demographic characteristics, chiropractic treatment methods and frequency, and clinical outcomes for chiropractic management of neck pain in a sample of veteran patients.

METHODS:   This is a retrospective case series of 54 veterans with a chief complaint of neck pain who received chiropractic care through a Veterans Health Administration medical center. Descriptive statistics and paired t tests were used with the numeric rating scale and Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire serving as the outcome measures. A minimum clinically important difference was set as 30% improvement from baseline for both outcomes.

RESULTS:   The mean number of chiropractic treatments was 8.7. For the numeric rating scale, the mean raw score improvement was 2.6 points, representing 43% change from baseline. For the Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire, the mean raw score improvement was 13.9 points, representing 33% change from baseline. For both measures, 36 (67%) patients met or exceeded the minimum clinically important difference.

CONCLUSION:   Mean chiropractic clinical outcomes were both statistically significant and clinically meaningful for this sample of veterans presenting with neck pain. This study provides a retrospective review of clinical outcomes for a sample of veterans with neck pain within a VHA chiropractic clinic. Despite the levels of service-connected disability and comorbidity among this sample of veteran patients seeking care for neck pain, mean clinical outcomes were considered to be both statistically significant and clinically meaningful. Although retrospective design-based limitations are identified, this study serves as a foundation for further research and provides the most extensive account to date of chiropractic clinical outcomes for veteran patients with neck pain.

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