Does Chiropractic Work?

Absolutely! Here are some findings from studies done by researchers including chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons and other medical professionals…

Harvard Medical School Health Letter September 1980 

“Chiropractic treatment of low back pain, which affects 75 million Americans, is superior to the standard regimen administered by medical doctors, a major British study has concluded. Chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparisons with hospital outpatient management,” said Dr. T.W. Meade, a British medical doctor who headed the study conducted at 11 hospitals and chiropractic clinics.

Federal Medical Study Endorses Chiropractic for Back Pain – (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research)
December 8, 1994 – a panel of 23 doctors headed by Dr. Stanley Bigos, MD, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, studied 2900 medical articles on low back pain. Their conclusions were that “Chiropractor’s manipulation of the spine was more helpful than any of the following: traction, massage, biofeedback, acupuncture, injection of steroids into the spine, back corsets and ultrasound.” Surgery was beneficial in only 1 out of 100 cases.

Migraine Headaches Gone!
In Australia, the federal government commissioned a study to determine if chiropractic care was effective in treating migraine headaches. 85 patients who had suffered from migraines for an average of 19 years were divided into three groups. One group received chiropractic treatment, and the other two groups received traditional medical therapy. All three groups reported some relief, but the chiropractic group reported superiority on all levels studied!

The RAND Corporation Study 
RAND, the world renowned “think tank,” in conjunction with the UCLA Department of Medicine, completed a multidisciplinary study in 1991 and found that spinal manipulation is appropriate for the majority of acute low back pain. This two-year RAND study concluded that chiropractic management is safe, effective, and surprisingly well documented in numerous research articles. Paul Shekelle, MD, director of the RAND study, mentioned: “I would say that there’s considerably more randomized controlled trials which show benefit for this (chiropractic care) than there is for many other things which physicians and neurosurgeouns do all the time.”

Manga Report
Dr. Pran Manga, health economist, was commissioned by the Ministry of health in Ontario, Canada to review all the international evidence on the management of low back pain. His results shocked the medical community when he concluded: “There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low back pain was transfered from physicians to chiropractors.  Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate.  Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction.”

Florida’s Worker’s compensation Study 
Dr. S. Wolk, PhD, in a review of 10,000 cases from 1985 to 1987 showed that: 1.) disability was 48.7 percent shorter under chiropractic care; 2.) fifty-one percent of medical patients were hospitalized compared to only 20.3 percent for chiropractic patients; and 3.) the estimated average total cost of care was 83.8 percent higher for the medical group than those under chiropractic care. Treatment costs for patients of chiropractors were significantly lower, at $1,204 per patient compared to $2,213 for patients of physicians. 

Reduction of Disc Prolapse by Manipulation 
Mathews and Yates (1969) studied the effect of manipulation on the reduction of lumbar disc prolapses. Results of this study suggested that small disc protrusions were diminished in size when patients had manipulation as a treatment. The authors concluded that “treatment by manipulation relieved the symptoms of lumbago and repeat epidurography showed that the prolapses were reduced in size.”

Women’s Health
Oh, the joys of pregnancy! Baby blankets, booties and bottles abound in anticipation of the new little bundle. Unfortunately, so do fatigue, swelling, and aches and pains. But before reaching for an over-the-counter pain reliever, take heed: Researchers have found that some pain relievers can induce miscarriage.

Researchers interviewed 1,055 pregnant women immediately following conception and up to five months into their pregnancies. (Miscarriage is defined as a natural abortion that occurs prior to 20 weeks gestation.) Participants were asked about their prenatal use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including inbuprofen, naproxen, or combination thereof (i.e., Advil, Motrin, Naprosyn); drugs containing aspirin (i.e., baby aspirin, Alka Seltzer, Excedrin, Soma); and paracetamol (acetaminophen)-containing drugs (i.e., Tylenol products, Theraflu, Triaminic, Vicodin).

Results: The study concluded that NSAID use was associated with an 80 percent increased risk for miscarriage; the association was even higher if NSAIDs were used around the time of conception or if use lasted for longer than one week. The use of aspirin was associated with a similar outcome; however the use of acetaminophen was not associated with increased risk, regardless of timing and duration of use.

Pregnant women can ease their pain and discomfort in ways that do not involve taking pills. A doctor of chiropractic can recommend a course of therapy that can help alleviate many of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy discomfort.

Li DK, Liu L, Odouli R. Exposure to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during pregnancy and risk of miscarriage: population based cohort study. British Medical Journal, Aug. 16, 2003: 327(368).

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