An April 2013 study in the journal Spine investigated the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment vs a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), in this case the drug used was diclofenac 50mg 3 times a day.  The study cited 31 different references.  The study included 72 people and were evaluated 7-9 days after intervention.

Low back pain is the number two reason why people go to a doctor, is the number one cause for work disability and is the third leading reason for early retirement.  Therefore, finding what treatment is most effective could save a massive amount of money in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

80% of people who receive treatment for acute low back pain return to work within 1 month.  7% of those people develop chronic low back pain.  Without treatment more than 60% develop chronic low back pain.  Therefore, appropriate treatment seems essential to avoid chronic low back pain.

The study found that patients who had chiropractic care for acute low back pain were significantly better than patients who received NSAID treatment and were also superior to the placebo group.

The study also found that the chiropractic group had faster and more improvement in physical disability,  required less rescue medication, had less time off work, and there were no adverse effects or harm from the treatment.

The finals numbers showed that 83% of the chiropractic patients indicated they had an “acceptable outcome” from care, while only 57% of the NSAID patients did, with 54% of the chiropractic patients indicating they got “complete relief” from care, while only 22% of the NSAID patients did.

This study shows that chiropractic care is superior to treatment with NSAID medication for acute low back and can be the recommended treatment option. This study is the first time that chiropractic care was investigated in a double-blinded randomized controlled design showing clear superiority compared with placebo and NSAID.

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