What does the research say about chiropractic care?

chiropratic patientThroughout chiropractic’s history, the profession has conducted clinical research despite limited funding. Unlike conventional medicine, chiropractic does not use implantable medical devices or pharmaceutical drugs, so it has not received research funding from device or pharmaceutical companies. Most chiropractic colleges have self-funded their research programs with support from chiropractic foundations.Federal support for chiropractic research began in 1992 with the establishment of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health.The majority of clinical research in chiropractic has focused on its effectiveness in caring for spine-related injuries and complications from spinal stress. These studies have focused on the most common complaints treated in chiropractic offices: low back pain, neck pain and headaches, and peripheral nerve problems. The studies usually compare a typical chiropractic regimen with commonly utilized pharmaceuticals, or combinations of therapies. Any lasting effects of treatment are measured over time.

The major studies have found clinical benefit to the participants from chiropractic treatment, some showing superiority of short and long-term effects.

Here are three examples of analyses of pools of research:

  • Bronfort, G., Haas, M., Evans, R., Kawchuk, G., Dagenais, S. (2008). Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with spinal manipulation and mobilization. Spine Journal, 8(1), 213-225.
  • Bronfort, G., Nilsson, N., Haas, M., Evans, R., Goldsmith, C.H., Assendelft, W.J.J. & Bouter, L.M. (2004). Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. The Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews.
  • Gross, A.R., Hoving, J.L., Haines, T.A., Goldsmith, C.H., Kay, T., Aker, P., Bronfort, G. (2004). Manipulation and mobilization for mechanical neck disorders. The Cochrane Database of Systemic Review.

To find studies on the use of chiropractic and other alternative approaches, you can visit PubMed and conduct a search, using both the word chiropractic and the name of the condition. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine supports a CAM search engine for PubMed publications.

(Source: University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing)

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