Study after study confirms the success of chiropractic for numerous types of spinal related health complaints. In recent years, numerous independent researchers and various government agencies have conducted studies which focus on the efficacy, appropriateness, cost-effectiveness and safety of chiropractic treatment. Several of these important studies are listed below.
A recent article published in Orthopedics Today, “Time to recognize value of chiropractic care? Science and patient satisfaction surveys cite usefulness of spinal manipulation.” February 2003:23(2), pp14-15, recognizes the education and benefits of Chiropractic while debunking common myths.
Cervical spine manipulation was associated with significant improvement in headache outcomes in trials involving patients with neck pain and/or neck dysfunction and headache. – Duke Evidence Report, McCrory, Penzlen, Hasselblad, Gray (2001)
The results of this study show that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches. . . Four weeks after cessation of treatment. . . the patients who received spinal manipulative therapy experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in all major outcomes in contrast to the patients that received amitriptyline therapy, who reverted to baseline values. – Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Boline et al. (1995)
Wight Study on Recurring Headaches. A 1978 study conducted by J.S. Wight, D.C., and reported in the ACA Journal of Chiropractic, indicated that 74.6% of patients with recurring headaches, including migraines, were either cured or experienced reduced headache symptomatology after receiving chiropractic manipulation.
Patients suffering from back and/or neck complaints experience chiropractic care as an effective means of resolving or ameliorating pain and functional impairments, thus reinforcing previous results showing the benefits of chiropractic treatment for back and neck pain. – Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Verhoef et al. (1997)
Chronic whiplash injuries are notoriously resistant to any form of treatment . Chiropractic treatment is one of the only proven effective forms of care in the treatment of chronic whiplash related injuries. In a 1996 study by Woodward et. al., published in the journal “Injury,” Chiropractic treatment was able to help relieve the pain for 93% of patients with chronic whiplash injuries. – Woodward MM, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic treatment of chronic whiplash injuries. Injury 1996;27:643-645.
U.S. Government Agency Report. A 1994 sturdy published by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorses spinal manipulation for acute low back pain in adults in its Clinical Practice Guideline #14. An independent multidisciplinary panel of private-sector clinicians and other experts convened and developed specific statements on appropriate health care of acute low back problems in adults. One statement cited, relief of discomfort (low back pain) can be accomplished most safely with spinal manipulation, and/or non-prescriptive medication.
The Manga Report. A major study to assess the most appropriate use of available health care resources was reported in 1993. This was an outcome study funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and conducted in hopes of sharing information about ways to reduce the incidence of work-related injuries and to address cost-effective ways to rehabilitate disabled and injured workers. The study was conducted by three health economists led by University of Ottawa Professor Pran Manga, Ph.D. The report of his study is commonly called the Manga Report. The Manga Report overwhelmingly supported the efficacy, safety, scientific validity, and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic for low-back pain. Additionally, it found out that higher patient satisfaction levels were associated with chiropractic care than with medical treatment alternatives.
“Evidence from Canada and other countries suggests potential savings of hundreds of millions annually,” the Manga Report states. “The literature clearly and consistently shows that the major savings from chiropractic management come from fewer and lower costs of auxiliary services, fewer hospitalizations, and a highly significant reduction in chronic problems, as well as in levels and duration of disability.”
RAND Study on Low-Back Pain A four-phase study conducted in the early 1990’s by RAND, one of America’s most prestigious centers for research in public policy, science and technology, explored many indications of low-back pain.
In the RAND studies, an expert panel of researchers, including medical doctors and doctors of chiropractic, found that:
- Chiropractors deliver a substantial amount of health care to the U.S. population.
- Spinal manipulations of benefit to some patients with acute low-back pain.
The RAND reports marked the first time that representatives of the medical community went on record stating that spinal manipulation is an appropriate treatment for certain low-back pain conditions.
The New Zealand Commission Report. A particularly significant study of chiropractic was conducted between 1978-1980 by the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry. In its 377-page report to the House of Representatives, the Commission called its study “probably the most comprehensive and detailed independent examination of chiropractic ever undertaken in any country.”
The Commission entered the inquiry with “the general impression … shared by many in the community: that chiropractic was an unscientific cult, not to be compared with orthodox medical or paramedical services.”
By the end of the inquiry, the commission reported itself “irresistibly and with complete unanimity drawn to the conclusion that modern chiropractic is a soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area…” Conclusions of the Commission’s report, based on investigations in New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, stated:
- Spinal manual therapy in the hands of a registered chiropractor is safe.
- Spinal manual therapy can be effective in relieving musculo-skeletal symptoms such as back pain, and other symptoms known to respond to such therapy, such as migraine.
- Chiropractors are the only health practitioners who are necessarily equipped by their education and training to carry out spinal manual therapy.
- In the public interest and in the interests of patients, there must be no impediment to full professional cooperation between chiropractors and medical practitioners.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Study Florida Workers’ Compensation Study. A 1988 study of 10,652 Florida workers’ compensation cases was conducted by Steve Wolk, Ph.D., and reported by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. It was concluded that “a claimant with a back-related injury, when initially treated by a chiropractor versus a medical doctor, is less likely to become temporarily disabled, or if disabled, remains disabled for a shorter period of time; and claimants treated by medical doctors were hospitalized at a much higher rate than claimants treated by chiropractors.”
Washington HMO Study In 1989, a survey administered by Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., concluded that patients receiving care from health maintenance organizations (HMO’s) within the state of Washington were three times as likely to report satisfaction with care from chiropractors as they were with care from other physicians. The patients were also more likely to believe that their chiropractor was concerned about them.
Utah Workers’ Compensation Study. A workers’ compensation study conducted in Utah by Kelly B. Jarvis, D.C., Reed B. Phillips, D.C., Ph.D., and Elliot K. Morris, JD, MBA, compared the cost of chiropractic care to the costs of medical care for conditions with identical diagnostic codes. Results were reported in the August 1991 Journal of Occupational Medicine.
The study indicated that costs were significantly higher for medical claims than for chiropractic claims; in addition, the number of work days lost was nearly ten times higher for those who received medical care instead of chiropractic care.
Patient Disability Comparison. A 1992 article in the Journal of Family Practice reported a study by D.C. Cherkin, Ph.D., which compared patients of family physicians was significantly higher (mean 39.7) than for patients managed by chiropractors (mean 10.8).” A related editorial in the same issue referred to risks of complications from lumbar manipulation as being “very low.”
Oregon Workers’ Compensation Study. A 1991 report on a workers compensation study conducted in Oregon by Joanne Nyiendo, Ph.D., concluded that the median time loss days (per case) for comparable injuries was 9.0 for patients receiving treatment by a doctor of chiropractic and 11.5 for treatment by a medical doctor.
Stano Cost Comparison Study. A study by Miron Stano, Ph.D., reported in the June 1993 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involved 395,641 patients with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Results over a two-year period showed that patients who received chiropractic care incurred significantly lower health care costs than did patients treated solely by medical or osteopathic physicians.
Saskatchewan Clinical Research. Following a 1993 study, researchers J. David Cassidy, D.C., Haymo Thiel, D.C., M.S., and W. Kirkaldy-Willis, M.D., of the Back Pain Clinic at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan concluded that “the treatment of lumbar intervertebral disk herniation by side posture manipulation is both safe and effective.”
1991 Gallup Poll. A 1991 demographic poll conducted by the Gallup Organization revealed that 90% of chiropractic patients felt their treatment was effective; more than 80% were satisfied with that treatment; and nearly 75% felt most of their expectations had been met during their chiropractic visits.
1990 British Medical Journal Report. A study conducted by T.W. Meade, a medical doctor, and reported in the June 2, 1990, British Medical Journal concluded after two years of patient monitoring, “for patients with low-back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management.”
Virginia Comparative Study. A 1992 study conducted by L.G. Schifrin, Ph.D., provided an economist assessment of mandated health insurance coverage for chiropractic treatment within the Commonwealth of Virginia. As reported by the College of William and Mary, and the Medical College of Virginia, the study indicated that chiropractic provides therapeutic benefits at economical costs. The report also recommended that chiropractic be widely available form of health care.
1992 America Health Policy Report. A 1992 review of data from over 2,000,000 users of chiropractic care in the U.S., reported in the Journal of American Health Policy, stated that “chiropractic users tend to have substantially lower health care costs,” and “chiropractic care reduces the use of both physician and hospital care.”
1985 University of Saskatchewan Study. In 1985 the University of Saskatchewan conducted a study of 283 patients “who had not responded to previous conservative or operative treatment” and who were initially classified as totally disabled. The study revealed that “81% … became symptom free or achieved a state of mild intermittent pain with no work restrictions” after daily spinal manipulations were administered.
RAND Corporation Study
– Chiropractic Care Appropriate for Low Back Pain. A Two- year, multi-disciplinary study still in progress has already issued reports that validate the assertion that spinal manipulation is an appropriate option for low back pain.
This Project aims to provide a comprehensive set of indications for performing spinal manipulation for persons with low back pain. The project, which will take several million dollars and years to complete, is being conducted by the RAND Corporation, a non-profit private corporation in Santa Monica, California, one of Americas most prestigious centers for research. Which conducts research and development for the US. Government and the private sector and commands international respect.
The project is being directed by two medical doctors, Robert Brook, MD., and Paul Shekelle, MD., and involves two expert panels of clinicians and researchers to assess the clinical consensus on the appropriateness of spinal manipulation for more than 1,600 patients with low back pain condition.
Initial results of the study are:
- Acute and sub-acute mechanical back pain patients given spinal manipulation achieve better early results than patients given common medical treatments (bed rest, medication, traction, corsets).
- 50% of the patients treated by manipulation were free of pain after one week, compared to 27% treated with bed rest.
- Manipulation proved better for pain relief than the use of physiotherapy and analgesics.
- Pain was relieved by manipulation in a shorter amount of time(3.5 treatments) than by exercise (5.8 treatments).
- Patients with pain of 2 to 3 weeks duration achieved a 50% reduction in pain more rapidly with manipulation than with mobilization.
- Patients treated by manipulation improved significantly faster than those treated with medicine.
- Manipulation provides earlier relief than other treatments or no treatment.
“The appropriateness of Spinal Manipulation for Low-Back Pain, Report 1: Project Overview and Literature Review, Report 2: Indications and ratings by a Multi-disciplinary Expert Panel,” Shekelle et al, RAND Reports R-4025/1 and R-4025/2, August 1991, Santa Monica Ca.
Additional information can also be explored through the American Chiropractic Association lists the top ten research sources that represent the information most often requested by members.