Chiropractic has survived as a profession for over one-hundred and twenty years despite many setbacks and opposition from medical counterparts. Not only has chiropractic survived, it has thrived through many obstacles by focusing on one primary goal of getting results for patients. Chiropractors differentiate their care by seeking to address the cause instead of just treating symptoms. This study evaluated the results for subjects with chronic spinal pain comparing chiropractic spinal manipulation, NSAID drugs, and acupuncture. The results were remarkable, and a follow-up study was published two years later observing the progression of results initially achieved from the first study. The results from the studies were as follows:

Spine Journal 2003: Chronic Spinal Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Medication, Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation

  • The study was designed to assess the long-term benefits of medication, needle acupuncture, and spinal manipulation as exclusive and standardize treatment regimens in patients with chronic (greater than 13 weeks) spinal pain syndromes.
  • 115 patients were originally randomized, 69 had exclusively been treated with the randomly allocated treatment during the nine-week treatment period.
  • The patients were followed up and assessed again one year after inception into the study reapplying the same instruments: Oswestry back pain index, neck disability index, short form-36, and visual analog scales.
  • Within nine weeks of treatment, 27.3% of the patients getting Chiropractic adjustments reported being asymptomatic compared with only 9.4% of the Acupuncture group and 5% of the group getting NSAIDs.
  • Patients assigned to the group receiving Chiropractic care had experienced chronic pain for almost twice the amount of time as the subjects in the other two groups: the group receiving Chiropractic reported having chronic pain for 8.3 years, compared to only 4.5 years for the subjects receiving medication and 6.4 years for the patients receiving Acupuncture.
  • None of the subjects receiving Chiropractic or Acupuncture reported suffering from any adverse events from the treatment, however, 6.1% of the subjects treated with NSAIDs reported suffering an adverse event.
  • One of the most interesting statistics of the study recorded the percentages of people who reported an improvement of overall general health status beyond just pain relief. The percentage of patients experiencing better overall health were as follows: 18% for the subjects treated with NSAIDs, 15% for the subjects treated with Acupuncture, and 47% for the subjects receiving Chiropractic adjustments.Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2005: Long-term follow-up of a randomized clinical trial assessing the efficacy of medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation for chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes.
  • Of the 115 patients originally randomized, 69 had exclusively been treated with the randomly allocated treatment during the 9-week treatment period (results at 9 weeks were reported earlier).
  • These patients were followed up and assessed again 1 year after inception into the study reapplying the same instruments (ie, Oswestry Back Pain Index, Neck Disability Index, Short-Form-36, and Visual Analogue Scales).
  • Questionnaires were obtained from 62 patients reflecting a retention proportion of 90%. The main analysis was restricted to 40 patients who had received exclusively the randomly allocated treatment for the whole observation period since randomization.
  • Comparisons showed that only the application of spinal manipulation revealed broad-based long-term benefit.
  • 5 of the 7 main outcome measures showed significant improvements compared with only 1 item in each of the acupuncture and the medication groups.Chiropractic was shown to not only be more effective in getting results with chronic pain patients, chiropractic was the only form of treatment to achieve long-lasting changes. Chiropractors get to the cause of problems instead of just treating symptoms. This research and follow-up study help show the extent of benefits accomplished through chiropractic spinal adjustments.