23 April 2010
There is currently no evidence to support or refute whether combined chiropractic interventions provide a long-term clinical benefit compared to other treatments in people with low-back pain (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 4, CD005427).
A review by Australian researchers has concluded that these interventions did slightly improve short- and medium-term pain. But after 3 months, no additional benefit could be found. In addition, even short-term differences to other treatments were small and “were only seen in studies with a high risk of bias”, the reviewers said.
Lead author Bruce Walker, senior lecturer at the School of Chiropractic and Sports Science at Murdoch University, Western Australia, said as the cause of more than 80 per cent of back pain cases was unknown, a better understanding of the causes driving back pain was required to direct treatment. However, he believed that for patients with ‘episodic’ lower back pain, a chiropractic intervention might be useful for short- and medium-term pain.
The reviewers assessed 12 randomised trials, including 2887 patients. Combination chiropractic care included use of spinal manipulation, heat or cold therapies, massage and electrotherapies. Comparisons were to placebo (dummy treatment) or other therapies such as analgesic (pain reliever) or anti-inflammatory use, lifestyle advice or exercise.
Last Reviewed: 23 April 2010