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Can a chiropractor help with my back pain?

Many people experience some form of back pain at some point.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, roughly two out of three people eventually experience significant lower back pain.  Many physicians today are beginning to consider referring patients for spinal manipulation over other treatments and remedies. 

What is spinal manipulation?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, spinal manipulation – “sometimes called ‘spinal manipulative therapy’ – is practiced by health care professionals such as chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists, and some medical doctors… by using their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine.”  The end goal of spinal manipulation is to dismiss pain and to increase physical functioning.  The New York Times claims that spinal manipulation “along with other less traditional therapies like heat mediation and acuMan stretching lower back to help with back painpuncture – seems to be as effective as many other more medical therapies [they] prescribe, and as safe, if not safer.”

Most cases of back pain have been found to heal overtime, therefore the best course of action often taken are methods that relieve symptoms that allow the body to heal naturally. The work done by chiropractors
and physical therapists often involve a variety of these methods.

The Tests

 The Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence from 15 randomized, controlled trials – including nearly 2,000 patients – showing that spinal manipulation improved pain by roughly 10 points on a 100 point scale along with improvement in physical functions. 

After the report was released, the Annals of Internal Medicine conducted a “systematic review of nonpharmacologic therapies [and] generally agreed with the other recent trials.”

Finally, the American College of Physicians have recently “released [the] new clinical practice guidelines for the noninvasive treatment of subacute back pain.  They recommended that patients should try heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation as first-line therapies.”

The original worries of spinal manipulation was the procedure cost and potential harms.  However, after the studies that have been conducted, “there were really no serious adverse events reported.” 


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