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Chiropractic Care Significantly Better than Drugs, Massage and Physiotherapy

I am summarizing an article that was published in the “MAC Journal” August 2017.  This article was written by James Chestnut, D.C. titled “Landmark Study at Combined Neurosurgical and Orthopedic Spine Center Shows Chiropractic Care Significantly Better than Drugs, Massage and Physiotherapy”.

There were two different groups in this study: group 1 being clinical guidelines based care that includes chiropractic (SC) and group 2 being physician directed usual care (UC) (drugs, physiotherapy, kinesiology, massage therapy).  The SC group was advised to walk 5-15 minutes, take acetaminophen every 6-8 hours as required for 2-4 weeks and a maximum 4 weeks of chiropractic lumbar adjustments 2-3 times per week.  The UC group the physicians were given no direction other than to treat at their own discretion.  Also, these physicians were given 16 weeks instead of the SC group’s 4 weeks.  This study showed that the SC group had 2700% greater improvement after 4 weeks of care (based on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire) compared to the UC group after 16 weeks of care and 78% of the UC group were still taking opioids at 16 weeks.  The SC group also demonstrated significantly greater improvements in reported function through 6 months follow up.

The results of this study are conclusive:  the chiropractic care group had significantly better results.  And, since the chiropractic group used no opioids, used significantly less drugs of any kind, and received 12 weeks fewer care, these significantly better results were achieved with less frequency and duration of care, less side-effects, and less expensive! The clinical importance is that the entire basis upon which education, practice guidelines, insurance coverage, and professional consensus (where it exists) have been based upon with respect to care recommendations in scientifically invalid and likely harmful to both patients and practitioners. 

Clinical Importance

16 weeks of usual physician directed care resulted in virtually NO IMPROVEMENT; whereas 4 weeks of chiropractic care with walking and taking acetaminophen, it needed showed significant improvement.  Remember, the physician directed care included acetaminophen/NSAIDS, and/or opioids and they got no improvement, so it can’t be concluded that any of the improvements in the chiropractic group were from the addition of acetaminophen.

This study shows two main things.  One, that physician directed usual care does not qualify as evidence-based and two, that it is highly ineffective.  In fact, 16 weeks of usual care from physicians that includes unlimited drugs, referral for physiotherapy, referral for massage therapy, or referral for care from a kinesiologist is 2700% less effective than 4 weeks of evidence-based care that includes chiropractic and advice to go for a walk.  The NSAIDS or acetaminophen cannot logically be viewed as contributing factor to this increased benefit because both groups had advice to take NSAIDS or acetaminophen.  In fact, the physician-directed usual care group had access to NSAIDS or acetaminophen for the entire 16 weeks and the chiropractic group for only 2-4 weeks.

Chiropractic care is a safe and natural alternative to modern medicine and in most cases more effective.  If you have questions please call Benchley Chiropractic Clinic at 989-386-2384.