Chiropractic maintenance care is often a controversial topic.  A new single-blind placebo controlled study, conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at Mansoura University, conclusively demonstrated that chiropractic maintenance care provides significant benefits for those with chronic low back pain. [1]
The authors concluded that spinal adjustments are effective for helping chronic nonspecific low back pain (LBP). To obtain long-term benefit for the patient, this study suggests that chiropractic maintenance care adjustments after the initial intensive period of care can provide additional long term benefit.
SOURCE: Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 (Aug 15); 36 (18): 1427-37

Chiropractic Maintenance Care

BACKGROUND: Spinal adjustments are a common method of care provided by skilled chiropractors for patients including those presenting with low back pain. Numerous clinical trials have attempted to evaluate its effectiveness for different subgroups of acute and chronic LBP previously, but the efficacy of maintenance adjustments in chronic non-specific LBP has never been studied. In this study, 60 patients with chronic, nonspecific LBP lasting at least 6 months were randomized into 3 groups: One third of them received 12 treatments of simulated spinal adjustment over a one-month period. One third of them received 12 adjustments during a one-month period, with no follow-up care during the next nine months, and one third of them received 12 spinal adjustment visits during the first month, followed by “maintenance” spinal adjustments every two weeks, for the next nine months.
To determine any difference among these 3 care groups, researchers measured pain and disability scores, generic health status, and back-specific patient satisfaction at baseline, and at 1-month, 4-months, 7-months, and at 10-months
RESULTS: Patients in spinal adjustment groups (groups 2 & 3) experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores than the simulated adjustment group at the end of the first 1-month period. At the 10-month follow-up, only the maintenance group maintained improvements in pain and disability, while the group that only received 1-months care had reverted to their pretreatment pain and disability levels.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first medically managed trial that clearly demonstrates that maintenance care provides significant benefits to those who suffer from chronic low back pain. Chiropractic researchers have come to the same conclusion in numerous published studies; however, the significance of this article is that medical researchers performed the study and are proving what chiropractors and their patients have known for years. If you have suffered from episodes of low back pain, and have visited your chiropractor, perhaps it is time to consider maintenance care.
Most people have no qualms about maintaining their car through routine oil changes and regular rotation of tires, most people maintain their teeth with regular brushing and flossing. The cost vs. benefit of maintenance care for cars and teeth is obvious.
Many of our practice members have already embraced the concept of maintaining spinal health through a program of regular spinal checkups and adjustments. This research re-enforces their choice, but the way they feel and function had already validated their decision.

REFERENCES: 1. Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Non-specific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long Term Outcome? Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011 (Aug 15); 36 (18): 1427-37
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