Adding Chiropractic to Usual Care Beneficial for Low Back Pain

Improvements in low back pain intensity and disability among active-duty military personnel.
Improvements in low back pain intensity and disability among active-duty military personnel.

HealthDay News — For active-duty military personnel, the addition of chiropractic care to usual medical care is associated with improvements in low back pain intensity and disability, according to a study published online May 18 in JAMA Network.

Christine M. Goertz, PhD, from the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in Davenport, Iowa, and colleagues conducted a three-site pragmatic comparative effectiveness clinical trial involving active-duty US service members aged 18 to 50 years with low back pain from a musculoskeletal source. A total of 750 patients were recruited and received usual medical care with or without chiropractic care, which included spinal manipulative therapy in the low back and adjacent regions and additional therapeutic procedures. 

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The researchers found that in all models there were statistically significant site × time × group interactions. At week six, the adjusted mean differences in scores were statistically significant in favor of usual medical care plus chiropractic care versus usual medical care alone for low back pain intensity, disability, and satisfaction (mean differences, −1.1, −2.2, and 2.5, respectively). For perceived improvement and self-reported pain medication use, the adjusted odds ratios at week six were also statistically significant in favor of usual medical care plus chiropractic care overall (odds ratios, 0.18 and 0.73, respectively).

"This trial provides additional support for the inclusion of chiropractic care as a component of multidisciplinary health care for low back pain, as currently recommended in existing guidelines," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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