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Low Back Pain: Chiropractic VS. Medical Care

Which One Shows Better Results?

For the approximately 80% of the adult population who will suffer from low back pain at some time, the treatment options can be confusing. Seeing a family doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist or a chiropractor are just some of the choices. Over the past decade, the scientific community has looked at these options in an attempt to find out which type of health care provider can help the most with this common problem.

The most comprehensive research study to date was performed at the Northwick Park Hospital in Great Britain. A large study was undertaken to compare chiropractic treatment with that given in hospital outpatients clinics to 741 patients with low back pain. On almost every measure examined, the patients receiving chiropractic treatment had better results. Chiropractic treatment resulted in a greater reduction of pain levels reported by patients, fewer episodes of return pain over the next two years, and less disability over the test period. Interestingly, patients with the most severe and chronic back pain were most helped by chiropractic treatment.

The only “drawback” to chiropractic treatment was the fact that chiropractors tended to treat patients more often during periods of back pain. The researchers commented, however, that those receiving chiropractic treatment required less care in the future and had less disability, saving even more money. In fact, the researchers suggest that the superior long-term results with chiropractic treatment may be, at least in part, the result of more intense initial treatment programs. Research is proving what many patients have known for a number of years: Chiropractic treatment is more effective than any other type of care for those suffering from low back pain. The moral of the story is simple: see a chiropractor first!