Chiropractic Care For Low Back Pain - What Does the Research Say?

There has been a debate for years regarding the use of spinal manipulation and its benefits in the treatment of low back pain. Since the founding of chiropractic in 1895, the initial reaction against the early pioneer chiropractors resulted in doctors of chiropractic (DCs) being incarcerated for “…practicing medicine without a license.” But chiropractors kept forging ahead and because of obtaining good results and helping millions of people, by 1971, Medicare adopted coverage for chiropractic. In 1975, the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare invited an international group of healthcare provider-types (MDs, DCs, DOs, etc.), to share with each other at the National Institute of Health and determine what the “current” research status of spinal manipulative therapy was at that time. This meeting resulted in recommendations for future research and the proceedings were published in: The DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 76-998 “The Research Status of Spinal Manipulative Therapy.” That landmark gathering stimulated a plethora of research that was to follow over the course of the next 30+ years and continues today. Due to the overwhelming positive benefits of chiropractic published in many research studies, by the late 1980’s most insurance companies included coverage for chiropractic care. Today, many chiropractors practice in multidiscipline healthcare centers that include DCs, MDs, PTs, and others. The following list of research studies has had a significant impact in vaulting chiropractic to its current accepted status in the healthcare system (the URL is included for further study):

  1. Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Townsend J, Frank AO. British Medical Journal 1990 (Jun 2); 300 (6737):1431-1437. Click Here
  2. Manga P, Angus DE, Papadopoulos C, Swan WR. A Study to Examine the Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. 8/1993; Ontario, Canada. Click Here
  3. Bigos S, et. al., 1994, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). Click Here
  4. Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Frank AO. Randomised Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Management for Low Back Pain: Results from Extended Follow up. British Medical Journal 1995 (Aug 5); 311 (7001): 349–351 Click Here
  5. Luo X, Pietrobon R, Sun SX, Liu GG, Hey L. Estimates and Patterns of Direct Health Care Expenditures Among Individuals With Back Pain in the United States. Spine 2004 (Jan 1); 29 (1): 79–86. Click Here