The Journal of Alternative, Complementary & Integrative Medicine published a study on November 13, 2017, demonstrating the positive results chiropractic care had for patients with urinary incontinence, low back pain and radiculopathy. Urinary incontinence is a common problem with associated lower back pain, as some of the same nerves involved in back pain also control the bladder.
Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the bladder. It can manifest as an occasional simple leakage when coughing or sneezing, or it can be severe where the urge to urinate comes on so suddenly and severely that there is not time to make it to the bathroom. The study reports that lower back pain is the most common type of pain in adults with one in four reporting some form of lower back pain the previous three months.
In this study, the records of 1367 patients suffering from lower back pain with radiating leg pain were reviewed. Of these, 119 patients, (8.7%) also had urinary incontinence. With the consent of these patients, their care was reviewed. Urinary incontinence with lower back pain is more common in women than in men. Of the total of 119 who met the criteria, 108 were female while only 11 were male. The age range for these patients was from 47 to 70.
All the patients in this study had been suffering from lower back pain for at least two years and had reported urinary incontinence for at least two months. Chiropractic and orthopedic examination procedures were performed to confirm lower spine problems. Additionally, an MRI study of all the patients confirmed a lower spine disc herniation that affected nerves in that area.
Chiropractic adjustments were given to each of the patients in accordance with the spinal findings. The average number of visits for patients included in this study was between seven and eight. The average time frame for chiropractic care was between one and eight weeks of care. The type of chiropractic care varied based upon the condition of the patient, their spine structure, age, and other factors specific to their situation.
In this study, the primary outcome measured was how often the patient had to urinate at night as well as any leakage or incidence of urinary incontinence episodes. The study results showed that 64.74% of the patients had complete remission of their urinary incontinence as a result of their care. Additionally, 30.25% showed at least a 25% or more improvement. Only 5.04% of the patients in this study did not show a significant change.
In their discussion and conclusion, the authors of this study point out that past discussions seem to discuss the idea that urinary incontinence was from a physical response to lower back pain. This new study suggests that the relationship between urinary incontinence and lower back and leg pain is more based upon neurological factors than physical ones. They state, “It is conceivable to the authors that chiropractic spinal manipulation exerts positive physiological responses in these patients. The results of this study are very promising with 113 (94.95%) patients reporting improvements.”