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Medical Wellness Archives

The Efficacy Of Chiropractic Treatment

For Lower Back Pain

2004: Volume 1, Number 1


Craig Steingraber, DC


The effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for lower back pain is under constant review. A meta-analysis in 2003 found spinal manipulation to be more effective than sham therapy and no more or no less effective than other treatments. (1)


However, reviewers reported that there were major quality problems in the studies analyzed, specifically regarding data collection issues, and concluded that the data "did not provide convincing evidence for the effectiveness of chiropractic". (2)

On the other hand, in an analysis of eight published studies conducted by NCCAM, six studies showed similar results between chiropractic and conventional treatment regarding effectiveness. (1) One trial found greater improvement in the chiropractic group than in groups receiving either sham manipulation or back school instruction. (3) The last study showed that treatment at a chiropractic clinic was more effective than outpatient hospital treatment. (4)

As the study of the efficacy of spinal manipulation for back pain continues, research shows that chiropractic medicine is a CAM therapy for treating back pain that compares favorably to conventional therapies.

1.Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H, Harber P, et al. A randomized trial of medical care with and without physical therapy and chiropractic care with and without physical modalities for patients with low back pain:6-month follow-up outcomes from the UCLA low back pain study. Spine. 2002;27(20):2193-2204.
2.Assendelft WJ, Koes BW, van der Heijden GJ, et al. The effectiveness of chiropractic for treatment of low back pain: an update and attempt at statistical pooling.

3.Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 1996;19(8):499-507.
4. Ernst E. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for back pain. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2003;37(3): 195-196.


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