Numerous studies have shown that chiropractic can be an effective treatment for lumbar spinal pain. No previous study, however, has examined the effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis. This current report set out to do just that, by comparing chiropractic treatment to moist heat treatment. Previous studies have shown that application of heat to the affected area is an effective self-management tool for arthritis symptoms.
The authors of this study recruited 252 patients with osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine; subjects were excluded if they were currently receiving chiropractic care, physical therapy, or were using anti-inflammatory medications.
The patients were divided into two groups: the treatment group received 20 chiropractic treatments with 15 minutes of moist heat; the control group received only the moist heat treatments. The subjects were evaluated for pain levels, activities of daily living, and range of motion.
The study found significant improvements in the patients who were given the chiropractic/moist heat treatments, as illustrated by the following graph that shows average extension of the spine measured at each evaluation point:
Here is a summary of the other findings:
- Chiropractic was significantly more effective in reducing pain than moist heat alone, even though both treatments reduced pain to some degree.
- The study examined right and left lateral flexion, average flexion, and average extension. “Chiropractic care plus moist heat is more effective than moist heat alone for improving ROM, as measured by these particular tests.”
- Chiropractic care was also more effective in improving daily activities, while moist heat alone did not improve activities of daily living.
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