Study Shows Chi­ro­prac­tic Bet­ter Than Mus­cle Relax­ants for Low Back Pain

A study pub­lished in the July /​August 2004 peer-​reviewed sci­en­tific jour­nal, “Jour­nal of Manip­u­la­tive and Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Ther­a­peu­tics”, com­pared the effects of chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments to mus­cle relax­ants in a group of patients with sub­a­cute low back pain.

This study defined sub­a­cute low back pain as lower back pain (LBP) with a dura­tion of 2 to 12 weeks. The study noted that in the United States the inci­dence of low back pain is as high as 75% to 85% of the pop­u­la­tion being affected at some time in their lives. On a yearly basis, the study noted that between 15% to 20% of the adult pop­u­la­tion can expect to expe­ri­ence LBP in any given year.

In the study, con­ducted at Life Uni­ver­sity in Geor­gia, 192 sub­jects with LBP from 2 to 6 weeks were sep­a­rated into three groups. One group received Chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments with placebo med­ica­tion. The sec­ond group received mus­cle relax­ants with sham (fake) adjust­ments. The third group was a con­trol group and received both placebo med­ica­tion as well as the sham (fake) adjust­ments. Care was ren­dered to the group for a 4 week period with eval­u­a­tions being done at the 2 week and 4 week marks.

Results were mea­sured in terms of patient reported pain, sever­ity, dis­abil­ity and depres­sion, as well as mea­sured flex­i­bil­ity and the patients self usage of over the counter aceta­minophen (Tylenol). The results of this short study showed that for the two pri­mary indi­ca­tors of pain and sever­ity, the chi­ro­prac­tic group did bet­ter than the other two groups. No sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences were seen for dis­abil­ity, depres­sion, flex­i­bil­ity, or aceta­minophen usage across groups in a study of this short a period of time. All three groups showed improve­ment in the areas of depres­sion, dis­abil­ity and drug usage.

The authors of the study did note that a longer study could have yielded more dif­fer­ences in recov­ery. How­ever, in the area of pain, a pri­mary patient con­cern in sub­a­cute LBP cases, the group that received the chi­ro­prac­tic adjust­ments faired the best. Their com­ments were: “Sta­tis­ti­cally, the chi­ro­prac­tic group responded sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the con­trol group with respect to a decrease in pain scores.”

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