Very little is known about the average number of
chiropractic visits required to provide the highest
quality of patient care possible for chronic lowback
pain. This is an important question scientifically,
but perhaps even more important clinically.
That’s why we’ve chosen to highlight a study published
by our colleagues at Western States University
This study is the only one to examine “dosing” of
chiropractic for low-back pain. The authors examined
whether spinal manipulative therapy (SMT)
or a light-massage control delivered three times per week for six weeks had a differential impact on patient
outcome. The 400 participants all had 18 sessions of care but were randomized to four different “dose
levels” of SMT. Primary outcomes were the changes in pain intensity and functional disability, measured
at 12 and 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes included days with perceived pain and function disability, pain
unpleasantness, global perceived improvement, non-prescription medication use and general health status.
The authors found the following:
- 12 sessions of SMT seemed to be the best “dose” at 12 weeks
18 sessions of SMT resulted in slightly improved outcomes relative to
light (five-minute) massage early on, but not at the 24-week endpoint
Participant improvement following 12 sessions was sustainable to
Twelve sessions of SMT over six weeks produced the best results in pain and functional disability at
12 weeks compared to zero, six, or 18 sessions of SMT with or without light massage.
Access full article
Haas M, Vavrek D, Peterson D, Polissar N, Neradilek MB. Dose-Response and Efficacy of Spinal
Manipulation for Care of Chronic Low Back Pain: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Spine J.