Nearly every person alive today has either heard about chiropractic health care or has already utilized it. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of new information from both research and in depth studies that show the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for a number of health problems, and additionally as a method of prevention of health problems. Newly released practice guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine stress a conservative approach to treating low-back pain and recommend spinal manipulation as one treatment with proven benefits. In the Guidelines proposed by Chou, et al, recommended that patients whose back pain does not improve with self care should consider the addition of non-pharmacological therapies with proven benefits, including spinal manipulation.
HOW IS CHIROPRACTIC DIFFERENT?
Chiropractic Physicians are educated nearly identically to allopathic (medical) and osteopathic physicians in basic sciences and diagnosis. The differences occur in treatment method, with allopathic and osteopathic physicians focusing on drugs, surgery and interventional procedures, while the chiropractic physician focuses on correction and maintenance of biomechanical and neurological integrity of the human body, through spinal manipulation and associated procedures. These procedures may include treatment modalities such as physiological therapeutics including ultrasound, diathermy, traction, and various stimulation, rehabilitative exercise and lifestyle changes, and Wellness/Prevention activities such as dietary counseling, and healthy living.
IS IT SAFE?
Chiropractic treatment is incredibly safeactually it is one of the safest methods of health care available today. A recent study by the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Associated Disorders, looked specifically as manipulation of the cervical spine (neck) which had the most questions associated with its safety. It was suspected by some medical researchers that it may be associated with vertebral basilar stroke. This was found to be completely unsubstantiated. The risk of vertebrobasilar stroke associated with a visit to a chiropractic physician is NO GREATER than the risk of stroke after visiting the office of an MD. It is most likely that the patients in the early stages of stroke present to both the chiropractic office and the family doctor because they are experiencing headache and neck pain due to early stages of stroke that is in the process of occurring and nothing that either does caused the stroke, as it was already in process. The incidence of other adverse effects is significantly lower (1 in 2,000,000) that the risk of adverse effect from common over the counter drugs such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin (1 in 45,000).
OTHER RESEARCH STUDIES
Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic treatment is both safe and effective. The following are excerpts from a few of the more recent studies. By examining the research supporting chiropractic care, you will find that chiropractic offers tremendous potential in meeting todays health care challenges.
For Acute and Chronic Pain
Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Nyiendo et al. (2000
In a Randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measures showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.
- British Medical Journal, Korthals-de Bos et al. (2003)
In Comparison to Other Treatment Alternatives
Acute and chronic chiropractic patients experienced better outcomes in pain, functional disability, and patient satisfaction; clinically important differences in pain and disability improvement were found for chronic patients.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Haas et al. (2005)
In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as for the continued care group (general practitioner).Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care.
Annals of Internal Medicine, Hoving et al. (2002)
Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache.
-Duke Evidence Report, McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001)
The results of this study show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. . . Four weeks after cessation of treatment . . . the patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values.
-Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Boline et al. (1995)
Chiropractic care appeared relatively cost-effective for the treatment of chronic low-back pain. Chiropractic and medical care performed comparably for acute patients. Practice-based clinical outcomes were consistent with systematic reviews of spinal manipulative efficacy: manipulation-based therapy is at least as good as and, in some cases, better than other therapies.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Haas et al. (2005)
Chiropractic patients were found to be more satisfied with their back care providers after four weeks of treatment than were medical patients. Results from observational studies suggested that back pain patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than with medical care. Additionally, studies conclude that patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than they were with physical therapy after six weeks.
- American Journal of Public Health, Hertzman-Miller et al. (2002)
Popularity of Chiropractic
Chiropractic is the largest, most regulated, and best recognized of the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) professions. CAM patient surveys show that chiropractors are used more often than any other alternative provider group and patient satisfaction with chiropractic care is very high. There is steadily increasing patient use of chiropractic in the United States, which has tripled in the past two decades.
Annals of Internal Medicine, Meeker and Haldeman (2002)