Back Pain? Spinal Manipulation Can Help
Lower back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions in adults—and it’s also one of the most common reasons doctors prescribe addictive pain relievers. New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that spinal manipulation, which is often performed by chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths, and others, and involves applying pressure and moving joints in the spine, may be an effective alternative to treating back pain.
Researchers analyzed 26 studies involving about 1,700 people with low back pain and found that spinal manipulation reduced self-reported pain using a pain rating scale. The improvement was modest—from a 7 to a 6, or a 5 to a 4, for example—but was similar to relief achieved from using over-the-counter pain relievers.
According to researchers, spinal manipulation also produced small improvements in function, with many patients reporting more ease and comfort walking and turning over in bed. More research is needed to determine which patients with lower back pain could benefit most from spinal manipulation.
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