Amid a worsening opioid addiction crisis, doctors are increasingly looking for alternative treatments for low back pain. A recent study in JAMA Network Open focused on U.S. military personnel. It found that those who used chiropractic care (including spinal manipulation, rehabilitation exercises and treatment with cold or heat), along with traditional medical care (including self-care, medications, physical therapy, and pain clinic referral), had better pain relief outcomes than those who only sought out traditional medical care.
Researchers studied 750 active-duty U.S. military service members being treated for lower back pain between 2012 and 2016. All received physical therapy and drugs to ease pain and inflammation. The patients were put into two groups. One group received traditional medical care for back pain along with chiropractic care, while the second group only received medical care. After six weeks, the study found that patients receiving chiropractic care reported larger reductions in low back pain and less related disability than those who only received traditional medical care.
It is evident that chiropractic care, like other forms of alternative treatments such as massage, acupuncture and yoga, have been found to reduce pain and improve function for people with low back pain.