This title isn’t click bait yes an article in the journal of the AMA supports chiropractic care. Or I should say the article supports spinal manipulation (spinal adjustment) in cases of acute lower back pain. What is great about this article is that, in the past, the AMA has been fundamentally opposed to chiropractic care. In fact it took loosing an anti-trust lawsuit to change their illegal practices towards the chiropractic profession. It is a big deal to have anything associated with the AMA show some support for chiropractic care.
This study was published on April 11, 2017 (today is April 12, 2017). The study is a systemic review which means the authors searched the literature for all the published literature on the effectiveness spinal manipulation for acute low back pain. Now Acute low back pain has been historically defined as a back pain of no more than 6 weeks duration. You can find a ton of studies which shows chiropractic care is great for chronic lower back pain, there is very little dispute for that. The evidence on chiropractic care for acute low back pain has not been as definitive. Even this study doesn’t give a glowing report on chiropractic care. The authors examined literature published from January 2011 to February 2017, why start at January 2011 and not before is my question. I guess I’ll have to purchase the full paper to see if they mention why, they should.
In the end the authors found that the majority of studies that met their inclusion criteria showed spinal adjustments had a significant affect on pain and function for patients with acute lower back pain. They also found that in those studies, which included 1711 patients, there were no serious adverse events reported. This means no one was seriously injured. The only adverse events were soreness, stiffness, headache, and increased pain. That’s not too bad considering the alternatives, drugs and surgery, can have much more common severe side effects. In fact commentary I have read regarding this article mentioned that the cost of caring for renal and gastrointestinal complications of NSAIDs and prescription opioid abuse may ultimately cost more than spinal manipulation.
These authors were forced to conclude that for the treatment of acute lower back pain spinal manipulation has modest results with few side effects of short duration. I say forced because, as I mentioned, anyone associated with the AMA has been historically opposed to anything positive that chiropractic could offer to patient care. The take away from this article could be, if these authors found spinal manipulation offers a modest improvement in pain and function it might really mean that chiropractic care crushes the other treatments available for acute low back pain.
Stop running to the medicine cabinet to treat your acute back pain, get in to see a chiropractor. Even this article in the Journal of the American Medical Association supports that.