Medical Research Journal Publishes Study Showing Benefits of Chiropractic for Back Pain

The medical research journal Spine, published a report on April 15, 2013 titled, “Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients With Acute Low Back Pain: Results of a Pragmatic Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Study.” The study was conducted on military personnel.

This study did not compare chiropractic care to medical care for patients with back problems. This study looked at the difference between patients who received only medical care versus those who received both chiropractic and medical care for acute lower back pain.

This study looked at patient responses relative to pain and physical functioning for the both the group receiving only medical care and the group that also received chiropractic. The 91 subjects in this study were active-duty US military personnel between the ages of 18 and 35 years. The study was conducted from February 2008 to June 2009 at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.

Lead author, Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and health policy for Palmer College of Chiropractic, explained the reasoning behind the study by saying, “While a number of studies have shown spinal manipulation to be effective in treating low back pain in research settings, the appropriate role of chiropractic care in treating low back pain within the health care delivery system, including the military, has not been clearly established.”

The results showed that those who received the chiropractic care in addition to the medical care did significantly better both with pain reduction and functional ability, than those who received only medical care. Col. Richard Petri, Chief of the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center (IPMC) at WBAMC commented, “This is a significant step for recognizing the value of chiropractic care in the military,” he said. “Continued research in this area will ultimately result in better healthcare delivery systems as well as the improved health of our beneficiaries.”

Wayne B. Jonas, M.D., President and CEO of Samueli Institute who funded the study noted, “It is critical that we explore drug-less approaches to reduce pain.” He added, “Chiropractic manipulation is an important option to consider for musculoskeletal disorders, which is the most prevalent pain complaint in the military.”

The study authors concluded, “The results of this trial suggest that CMT (Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy) in conjunction with SMC (Standard Medical care) offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard (medical) care, for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute LBP.

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