Scientifically proven to be effective
Chiropractic care is most commonly associated with manipulation of the spine. Manipulation is one of the most widely researched and clinically proven forms of physical therapy for low back pain and neck pain. Manipulation has been used as a treatment for musculoskeletal complaints for centuries. However, it was not until the last few years that its effectiveness has been proven through scientific research. In fact, for many years manipulation was thought to be an unorthodox form of medical care because of its relationship to the chiropractic profession. Today, this treatment is commonly accepted and its validity and efficacy have been proven for low back and neck pain.
What can chiropractic treatment help with?
Improve range of motion
Decrease muscle tension/spasm
Improved contractility of spine stabilizing musculature (core muscles)
Manipulation typically is recommended for low back pain without associated symptoms traveling beyond the knee; and neck pain with symptoms not traveling beyond the shoulder region. Symptoms including pain, numbness, and tingling that travel beyond the knee or shoulder region can be related to a pinched nerve and manipulation needs to be used with caution, if at all in these types of cases.
Manipulation has also recently been studied and compared to other forms of usual therapeutic interventions for chronic low back pain including individualized physical therapy and back school. The research performed has supported better short and long-term functional improvement and pain relief with spinal manipulation vs. individual physical therapy or back school.
Ultimately, when determining the best evidenced care for any condition the benefit to risk ratio must be determined, as noted above the therapeutic benefit of spinal manipulation for low back and neck pain is strongly supported and well documented, while the risks and arguments against its use have not been supported. As a result, spinal manipulation should always be considered as a first line of therapy in most cases of localized low back and neck pain. In fact, the risks associated with many other forms of accepted therapies are much greater including the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve), and while the benefit of these medications only treats the symptom and not the true cause of the pain, we use these medications routinely for pain. Spinal Manipulation helps to treat the cause of the pain as explained in the above noted literature and as a result has a much greater benefit to risk ratio than most conventional treatment available today for neck and low back pain.
In addition, chiropractors are the most highly trained professionals in this form of therapy and as a result should be your therapist of choice when this form of therapy is indicated for your care.