When asked what conditions chiropractic treats, most people automatically think of low back pain. While our patients know that chiropractic treats many other types of conditions such as headaches, neck, arm and leg pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, etc., I want to focus this article on low back pain research.
Low back pain will strike 75% of all Americans at some point in their lifetime. Because of the human suffering, lost work days, and treatment cost associated with low back pain, an enormous amount of research has been performed over the past ten years to determine the best method of treating lower back problems.
Much of this research has been focused on manipulation or adjusting of the spine. Manipulation involves a relatively painless, rapid thrusting motion made with the hands. It is intended to restore proper alignment and motion of the spinal bones causing a reduction of nerve irritation.
Most manipulation is performed by chiropractors. Chiropractors have four to five years of specialized education in manipulation whereas most medical doctors and physical therapists claiming to do manipulation take courses ranging from one to twelve months. Some of the more notable research comparing chiropractic manipulation vs. taking medicine and conventional physical therapy is as follows:
- A British Medical Journal study involved over 741 patients with lower back pain. Half of the patients received physical therapy and the other half received chiropractic adjustments. The chiropractic patients tended to 1) be given relief of pain more quickly, 2) have less incidence of symptoms returning, 3) lose fewer days from work due to disability, and 4) have less cost involved even though the course of chiropractic treatment took longer.
- A Canadian Family Physician medical journal study revealed that a group of 171 patients with chronic low back pain, previously treated by medical doctors and who all still remained totally disabled from work, showed 87% returning to normal work and lifestyles two to three weeks after receiving chiropractic manipulation.
- A study performed in Canada by the Ontario Ministry of Health concluded spinal manipulation by chiropractors is more effective, safer and more cost-effective than other treatments for low back pain. The study went on to say, "Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate," some are "unsafe" and even cause complications.
There are many more studies too numerous to mention in this article. Chiropractic care works for low back pain-the facts prove it!