Downtown Chiropractic Newsletter
Efficacy of preventive spinal manipulation for chronic low-back pain and
related disabilities: a preliminary study.
by Descarreaux, Blouin, Drolet,
Papadimitriou, and Teasdale
The following is an abstract from the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy, October 2004.
This study highlights the potential benefits of a maintenance schedule of spinal manipulations following initial intensive treatment for chronic low-back conditions. Such maintenance the authors say "may be beneficial to patients," helping them maintain the level of reduced disability after the initial intensive care, while in the absence of such a maintenance schedule "disability scores . . . to their pretreatment levels."
To document the potential role of maintenance chiropractic spinal
manipulation to reduce overall pain and disability levels associated with
chronic low-back conditions after an initial phase of intensive chiropractic
METHODS: Thirty patients with chronic nonspecific low-back pain were
separated into 2 groups. The first group received 12 treatments in an intensive
1-month period but received no treatment in a subsequent 9-month period. For this
group, a 4-week period preceding the initial phase of treatment was used as a
control period to examine the sole effect of time on pain and disability levels.
The second group received 12 treatments in an intensive 1-month period and
also received maintenance spinal manipulation every 3 weeks for a 9-month
follow-up period. Pain and disability levels were evaluated with a visual analog
scale and a modified Oswestry questionnaire, respectively.
RESULTS: The 1-month
control period did not modify the pain and disability levels. For both groups,
the pain and disability levels decreased after the intensive phase of
treatments. Both groups maintained their pain scores at levels similar to the
postintensive treatments throughout the follow-up period. For the disability scores,
however, only the group that was given spinal manipulations during the
follow-up period maintained their postintensive treatment scores. The disability
scores of the other group went back to their pretreatment levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Intensive spinal manipulation is effective for the treatment of
chronic low back pain. This experiment suggests that maintenance spinal
manipulations after intensive manipulative care may be beneficial to patients to
maintain subjective postintensive treatment disability levels. Future studies,
however, are needed to confirm the finding in a larger group of patients with
chronic low-back pain.
Source: Descarreaux M, Blouin JS, Drolet M, Papadimitriou S, Teasdale N. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Oct;27(8):509-14.
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