Does Maintained Chiropractic Adjustments for Chronic Low Back Pain Result in Better Long Term Outcome?

Published: May 29th, 2013

This is a study that was found online on PubMed from the Spine Journal from January 2011

A prospective single blinded placebo controlled study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) for the management of chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP) and to determine the effectiveness of maintenance SMT in long-term reduction of pain and disability levels associated with chronic low-back conditions after an initial phase of treatments.  It has already been documented that for acute lower back pain, SMT is proven to reduce the intensity of the pain.  Continued care for long term effects and preventative care has not been studied for chronic pain.

60 patients with non specific low back pain were randomized to receive either 1.  12 treatments of sham SMT over a one month period or 2.  12 treatments, consisting of SMT over a one-month period, but no treatments for the subsequent 9 months. or 3.  12 treatments over a one-month period, along with "maintenance spinal manipulation" every two weeks for the following 9 months.  Pain scores, disability scores, generic health status, and back specific patient satisfaction were measured at baseline and at 1-month, 4-month, 7-month and 10-month intervals.

RESULTS:  The patients in the 2nd and 3rd groups experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores than the first group after a one-month period.  Awesome!  Chiropractic does work!  However, only the third group that was given spinal manipulations during the follow-up period showed more improvement in pain and disability scores at the 10-month evaluation.  The pain and disability scores in the group that discontinued "maintenance SMT" returned back near to their pretreatment level.

CONCLUSION:  SMT is effective for the treatment of chronic non specific LBP.  To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggest maintenance spinal manipulations after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.

If you suffer from chronic non specific LBP don't quit your treatment plan early.  Getting adjusted on a periodic basis, even if you are not in exquisite pain, is proven to obtain the best results!