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Dr. Bill Moreau plus other Olympic alumni

Dr. Bill Moreau plus other Olympic alumni

Spring/Summer 2016


Third in a series of key research-article summaries from the PCCR:

Dose-Response and Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Care of Chronic Low-Back Pain: a Randomized Controlled Trial

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 in 2014.

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 52 weeks

Take-home message

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. 2014;14(7):1106-16. http://bit.ly1OoENvP

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