Objective and independent scientific research studies that compare the benefits of chiropractic treatment for low back pain to existing recommended medical treatment (such as physiotherapy and medication) have demonstrated that chiropractic treatment was more effective (both in the short and long term). These research studies were conducted by respected scientific institutions, for example; Prof. Meade et. al (1,2). Lawrence et. al.(3)
Meade found that ‘chiropractors received significantly superior results for back pain patients than did physical therapist.’
Lawrence’s review of research on chiropractic management of low back pain and related leg complaints (such as sciatica) confirmed:
1. ‘There is evidence that high velocity, low amplitude adjustments (HVLA) [as performed by chiropractors] have “better short term efficacy than mobilization or diathermy”. Mobilization and diathermy are common treatments used by physical therapy. 2. ‘For (long term) chronic low-back pain, there is evidence that HVLA is better than physical therapy and home exercises and better than general medical care or placebo.’
Carey et. al (4) showed that medical doctors trained in postgraduate spinal manipulation proved unable to assess and treat back pain patients successfully.
A study published in the British Medical Journal conducted on physiotherapy at Warwick university concluded; ‘using physiotherapy to treat mild to moderate low back pain was a waste of money and time – it doesn’t make a difference’.(5)
Interestingly, ‘90% of back pain sufferers stop seeing their GP within three months – but most of them are still in pain a year later’. (Croft, Macfarlane et.al. Outcome of low back pain in general practice: a prospective study, BMJ 1998).
STUDIES ON LOW BACK PAIN
“Chiropractic manipulation is safer and more cost effective than medical management of low back pain” (LBP). There is good empirical evidence that patients are very satisfied with chiropractic management of LBP.” Manga P et al. Study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Canada, 1993.
“Manipulation of the low back is recommended during the first four weeks of symptoms, with or without medication, in conjunction with low-stress exercise followed by conditioning exercises after two weeks.” Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), Department of Health and Human Services, USA, 1994.
“Consider manipulative treatment within the first six weeks for patients who need additional help with pain relief or who are failing to return to normal activities. The risk of manipulation is very low in skilled hands.” Clinical Guidelines of the Royal College of General Practitioners et al, UK, 1996.
“Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, is recommended for patients with acute low back pain and functional limitations of more than 2 to 3 days duration, and for acute exacerbations of recurrent or chronic low back pain and functional limitation.” Study by the Danish Institute for Health Technology Assessment, National Board of Health, Denmark, 1999.