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Maitland Chiropractor: Research Shows Chiropractic Care Far Superior To Drugs

Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial for Lower Back Pain:

In the study published by Spine, 115 patients experiencing lower back pain for at least 13 weeks duration were randomly assigned to receive one of three interventions: medication, needle acupuncture or chiropractic manipulation. 

Patients randomized to the acupuncture or spinal manipulation group were given an initial physical examination by the treating clinician to determine which form of acupuncture needle placement and needling would take place, or what type of spinal manipulation would be performed, respectively. Patients randomized to the medication group were given Celebrex, unless the patient had used it previously. The next drug of choice was Vioxx, followed by paracetamol (up to 4g/day). Doses were left to the physician’s discretion. Chiropractors administered “high-velocity, low-amplitude” manipulations. Chiropractic patients were given two treatments per week. 

The patients were assessed four times: at the initial visit, and two, five and nine weeks after the initial treatment. 

At the end of the study, the group receiving manipulation experienced a 300% increase in the number of patients fully recovered versus the acupuncture group and a 450% increase over the medication group. 

Patient assessments regarding chronic lower back pain for the three groups also indicated superiority for chiropractic manipulation. This superiority is demonstrated in the percentage of improvement that patients in each of the three groups experienced as measured by the administered assessment tools. 

One of the study’s most remarkable findings was that patients in the chiropractic manipulation group reported a 47 percent improvement, compared to only 15 percent for the acupuncture group and 18 percent for the medication group. 

“Considering that the patients in this study had experienced chronic spinal pain syndrome for an average of 4.5 years in the medication group, 6.4 years in the acupuncture group, and 8.3 years in the spinal manipulation group, it is notable that manipulation… achieved asymptomatic status for every fourth patient (27%). This result is superior to the percentages for acupuncture (9.4%) and medication (5%) for short-term outcomes… Medication apparently did not achieve a marked improvement in chronic spinal pain and caused adverse reactions in 6.1% of the patients.” 

“The results of this study can be generalized because the study sample had a broad socioeconomic background and a wide age range.”   “In summary, the significance of the study is that for chronic spinal pain syndromes, it appears that spinal manipulation provided the best overall short-term results, despite the fact that the spinal manipulation group had experienced the longest pretreatment duration of pain.” 

To see if chiropractic care is appropriate for your health concern, call your Maitland Chiropractor today 407-629-5333 to schedule your evaluation and explore pain relief options. 


1.Giles LGF, Muller R. Chronic spinal pain – a randomized clinical trial comparing medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation. Spine 2003; 28:1490-1503.
2.Ernst E, Assendelft WJJ. Chiropractic for low back pain. BMJ 1998; 317: 160.
3.Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Townsend J, Frank AO. Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. BMJ 1990; 300: 1431-1437.
4.Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Frank AO. Randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient management for low back pain: results from extended follow-up. BMJ 1995; 311: 349-351.
5.Waddell G, Feder G, McIntosh A, Lewis M, Hutchinson A. Clinical guidelines for the management of acute low back pain: clinical guidelines and evidence review. London: Royal College of General Practitioners, 1996.
6.Shekelle PG, Adams AH, Chassin MR, Hurwitz EL, Brook RH. Spinal manipulation for low-back pain. Ann Intern Med 1992; 117: 590-598.
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