Treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Chiropractic

Treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Chiropractic


Chiropractic and back painLow back pain is a very common condition, and one that is very expensive for our health care system. Experts estimate that chronic back pain costs the US about $100 billion each year in direct and indirect costs. As the authors of one study wrote:
"One factor explaining these enormous costs is the high rate of recurrence and chronic disability related to low-back disorders...It has been suggested that only 10% of LBP patients generate more than 80% of the total costs related to LBP."

Because of the enormous costs of treating chronic back pain, prevention is an important goal. This current study set out to examine the role of chiropractic in treating chronic low back pain. The authors studied 30 patients who had back pain for at least six months. All patients were subjected to a one-month control period that consisted of no treatment. This was included so that the researchers could observe the natural course of the back pain symptoms.

After this baseline period, half of the patients (Group 1) received intensive chiropractic treatment consisting of 12 treatments in one month, then no treatments for nine months. The other half of the patients (Group 2) received the same intensive treatment, but also received maintenance chiropractic treatments every 3 weeks for nine months. At the end of the nine-month period, both groups were again examined.
After analyzing the results, the authors found the following:
  • Pain levels were reduced in both groups of patients. The intensive month of chiropractic adjustments reduced pain, even without follow-up care.
  • Disability levels, however, showed a different response. For the patients with no continuing treatment, the disability levels returned to their pretreatment levels on the Oswestry. The Group 2 patients who received maintenance care continued to see improvement in disability scores over the whole nine months.
The following graph illustrates the differences between the two groups on disability levels:
Chronic pain and chiropractic
The authors conclude:
"This study appears to confirm previous reports showing that LBP and disability scores are reduced after spinal manipulation. It also shows the positive effects of preventive chiropractic treatment in maintaining functional capacities and reducing the number and intensity of pain episodes after an acute phase of treatment. Maintenance chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation combined with other treatment modalities (exercises, pain management program) should be investigated. Such combined interventions may have a critical influence on pain, disability, and return to work."
Descarreaux M, Blouin JS, Drolet M, Papadimitriou S, Teasdale N. Efficacy of preventive spinal manipulation for chronic low-back pain and related disabilities: a preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2004;27:509-514.
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Avoiding Sciatica Surgery with Chiropractic Care

Avoiding Sciatica Surgery with Chiropractic Care


Treating sciatica with chiropractic careThe pain of sciatica often drives patients to opt for surgery. But new research suggests that chiropractic treatment can be just as effective as surgery in some cases of sciatica. Spinal decompression surgery, also known as microdiscectomy, has proven to be effective for many people with sciatica. However, scientists questioned whether surgery was a necessary step in all cases.

That's why researchers recently conducted a study to determine whether chiropractic was just as successful as surgery in treating sciatica. The study included 40 patients with sciatica who had a history of trying other treatment methods like painkillers, lifestyle changes, massage, and acupuncture but were still experiencing pain. Half of the patients were randomly assigned surgery and the other half was treated with chiropractic adjustments. 85% of participants in the surgery group saw significant improvements while 60% of participants in the chiropractic group clearly improved. Those in the chiropractic group who later decided to have surgery experienced the same rates of improvements as the initial surgery group.

Although chiropractic may not solve every sciatica case, it did prove effective for over half of the patients treated with chiropractic in this study. This led researchers to conclude that patients should seek chiropractic adjustments before opting for surgery. Avoid the potential risks of surgery by seeking chiropractic care for your sciatica.

McMorland G, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, Hurlbert RJ. Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2010; 33(8): 576-584.
Posted in sciatica treatmentUnderstanding Sciatica

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Why Chiropractic is the Best Solution for Sciatica Pain


Sciatica and chiropracticSciatica and chiropractic
Sciatica pain is often so debilitating that it forces people to miss work and other normal activities.  Of all patients with low-back pain, sciatica patients have the highest level of disability (1).  In fact, patients with sciatica are disabled for an average of 72 days according to Norwegian public-health records.
Fortunately, a recent study offers hope to sciatica patients: chiropractic care can speed the recovery from sciatica flare ups and allow patients to return to work sooner (2).

The study evaluated 44 Norwegian workers after they came to the hospital with severe sciatica pain. Most of those patients had been experiencing pain for three or more weeks prior to their hospital visit.
The hospital chiropractor examined each patient to evaluate his/her posture and gait, range of motion, and palpation of the lumbar spine.

The chiropractic then performed various joint adjustments to the spine and other limbs that had been injured through patients compensating for pain. Ice treatment was also used to relieve soft tissue soreness.Patients were treated daily in the hospital and later three times a week for the first two weeks. Some patients needed additional follow-up treatment but typically did not exceed 14 treatments.

In matter of 21 days, 91% of patients returned to work full-time. Two patients returned to work part time. Researchers concluded this study demonstrates the potent benefits of collaboration between chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons. Chiropractic care can put an end to your sciatica pain so you can begin living your life fully again.

Posted in chiropracticChiropractic NewsSciaticasciatica treatmentUnderstanding Sciatica
  1. Arana E, Marti-Bonmati L, Vega M, et al. Relationship between low back pain, disability, MR imaging findings and health care provider. Skeletal Radiology 2006;35(9):641-7.
  2. Orlin JR, Didriksen A. Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007;30:135-139.