(HealthDay News) – Spinal manipulation is significantly superior to anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of acute, nonspecific low back pain (LBP), according to a study published in the April issue of Spine.

Wolfgang J. von Heymann, Dr Med, of Bremen University in Germany, and colleagues recruited 101 patients with acute LBP (for <48 hours) from five outpatient practices. Participants were randomized to receive spinal manipulation and placebo-diclofenac (n=37); sham manipulation and diclofenac (n=38); or sham manipulation and placebo-diclofenac (n=25). Self-rated physical disability, function (SF-12), off-work time, and rescue medication between baseline and 12 weeks after randomization were the outcomes of interest.

The researchers closed the placebo group prematurely due to a high number of dropouts for unsustainable pain. The two intervention groups were significantly superior to the placebo group and the manipulation group was significantly better than the diclofenac group. No adverse effects were reported.

“In a subgroup of patients with acute nonspecific LBP, spinal manipulation was significantly better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and clinically superior to placebo,” the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)