Chiropractic For Low Back Pain

Chiropractor adjusting female patient

Overview

Spinal manipulation is one of the safest forms of care available to treat low back pain. It is most commonly offered by Doctors of Chiropractic.

According to current research, spinal manipulation has good evidence of efficacy, meaning scientific studies have shown that it not only works for low back pain, but is as good as or better than other treatment options, including physical therapy, exercise and medications.

RESCU Treatment Ratings

R = Risk      E = Effectiveness      S = Self-Care

C = Cost     U = Usefulness (overall rating)

1 = Least Favorable     5 = Most Favorable

R

RISK: 5/5

Spinal manipulation is one of the safest forms of care available to treat low back pain. Many patients experience transient soreness, but serious complications appear to be extremely rare.

One recent review noted, “ Approximately one half of patients who undergo spinal manipulation have mild to moderate undesirable effects; these include local discomfort (occurred in 53 percent of patients in one series of 4,712 patients); headache (12 percent); tiredness (11 percent); and radiating discomfort (10 percent). Most (74 percent) of these reactions resolved within one day. Similar results were found in other series.”

Cauda Equina Syndrome ( CES) is estimated to occur in less than 1 per 1 million treatments.(Cauda equine syndrome is a serious medical condition requiring surgery. It is an extremely rare complication of manipulation.)

Other studies suggest that many patients experience transient soreness. “Although the occurrence rate of these complications is unknown, it is probably low.”

Source:
Hebert JJ, Stomski NJ, French SD, Rubinstein SM. Serious Adverse Events and Spinal Manipulative Therapy of the Low Back Region: A Systematic Review of Cases. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jun 17 2013.

Therapy of the Low Back Region: A Systematic Review of Cases. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jun 17 2013.

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