Low Back Pain: Should We Recommend Chiropractic Care?

Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH


June 18, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

With as many as 1 in 5 adults suffering from low back pain, it's imperative that we find nondrug options to relieve this disabling condition. The American College of Physicians recommends spinal manipulation as an option for the management of low back pain.

But does it help? A trial conducted among a relatively young, physically fit group—active-duty US service members—compared 6 weeks of usual medical care plus chiropractic care versus usual medical care alone.

Chiropractic care included spinal manipulation in the lower back, exercise, heat and cold therapy, and other manual treatments. Usual medical care included self-care, medicines, and referrals to physical therapy and pain clinics.

Using self-reported pain intensity and disability as the main outcome measures, combined therapy was more effective than usual medical care alone. Those who received chiropractic care were also more satisfied with their care.

These findings support how important a multidisciplinary approach is to successfully treat low back pain.

Follow Dr Cassoobhoy on Twitter at @ArefaMD


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