Chiropractic Research

Listed below is a mere sampling of some of the high profile research studies and literature reviews that have been conducted on chiropractic management.  The studies below were published in peer-reviewed journals.

Neck & Back Pain

For Acute and Chronic Pain

272 patients with neck pain were divided into three groups:  Group "A" received chiropractic adjustments (termed manipulation) over a course of 15 visits, Group "B" was told to take tylenol and / or narcotics and muscle relaxers (per doctor's discretion), and Group "C" was shown stretches to do at home and was informed to continue them at a recommended frequency.  After 12 weeks, the results were in:  57% of the "chiropractic group" had a 75% reduction in pain.  48% of the "home exercise group" also had a 75% reduction in pain.  However, in the "medication group", only 33% had a similar amount of pain relief!

- January 3, 2012 vol. 156 no. 1 Part 1 1-10, Annals of Internal Medicine

"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."

- Nyiendo et al (2000), Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

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.

- Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), British Medical Journal


For Headaches

"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)


For High Blood Pressure ("hypertension")

"…restoration of Atlas alignment [ with chiropractic treatment ] is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy."

-Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May);   21 (5):   347-352

Safety & Education

Safety of Chiropractic Care

"There is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low back pain….Our reading of the literature suggests that chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain."

There is also some evidence in the literature to suggest that spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by non-chiropractic professionals" (such as MDs, PT's, etc.)

The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada.

More Research on Safety and Education

"Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy (spinal adjustments)."

"Chiropractors carry out spinal diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level."

"Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered ("licensed") chiropractor is safe."

"The duration and training of a registered chiropractor are sufficient to enable him/her to determine whether there are contraindications to spinal manual therapy in a particular case, and whether that patient should have medical care instead of, or as well as, chiropractic care."

-New Zealand Commission Report

Patient Satisfaction

"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."

-- Hertzman-Miller et al (2002), American Journal of Public Health

Consumer Reports 2011

For the treatment of lower back pain, treatment by a chiropractor was rated higher than any other provider or treatment method!  58% of patients were "Highly Satisfied" with their care delivered by a chiropractor.  Only 34% of patients were "highly satisfied" when their back problem was managed by their primary care MD.  Chiropractic patient satisfaction outranks Rx Medications, OTC medications, Injections, Massage, PT, Acupuncture, surgery, and medical specialist (Ortho, Neuro) management of Lower Back Pain.

W.H.O Neck Pain Task Force Study 2010

The prestigious World Health Organization (WHO) formed a multidisciplinary team or "task force" to investigate what the best treatments for neck pain was.  They looked at research over the past ten years and they concluded the following:  Manipulation (adjustment), mobilization, exercise, patient reassurance, and harmful activity avoidance counseling were all treatment methods that had the Most Evidence to support their use in treating neck pain.  Doctors of Chiropractic perform all of these methods!  This study was the most thorough study to date in this area.  This study also confirmed recent studies in that chiropractic treatment of neck pain is just as safe as medical doctor treatment.


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