Spinal Manipulation Helps Relieve Back-Related Leg Pain

(HealthDay News) — Adding spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) to home exercise and advice (HEA) may improve short-term outcomes in patients with subacute and chronic back-related leg pain (BRLP), according to research published in the September 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a controlled pragmatic trial with allocation by minimization involving individuals, aged ≥21 years, who received an intervention for BRLP of either SMT plus HEA or HEA alone for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was patient-rated BRLP. Secondary outcomes were self-reported low back pain, disability, global improvement, satisfaction, medication use, and general health status.

The researchers found that SMT plus HEA offered significantly greater relief from BRLP than HEA alone at 12 weeks (difference, 10 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, 2–19 points). Most secondary outcomes showed greater improvement with SMT plus HEA than with HEA alone at 12 weeks, but these improvements were sustained at 52 weeks for only global improvement, satisfaction, and medication use.

“For patients with subacute and chronic BRLP, SMT in addition to HEA is a safe and effective conservative treatment approach, resulting in better short-term outcomes than HEA alone,” the authors write.

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