The effectiveness of chiropractic for treating low back pain has been the subject of several systematic reviews, one of which compared it to that of conventional treatments or placebos. Whether it is for acute or chronic low back pain i.e. recent or old, chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be more effective than placebos treatments in relieving pain and improving the functional status of patients. For athletic injuries such treatments are essential.
In 2006, two studies more specifically evaluated the long-term effect of chiropractic, 12 months5 and 18 months after treatment. Participants reported less pain during this period compared to other treatment groups.
Another study, counting 672 patients suffering from low back pain, points to a higher degree of satisfaction in individuals who have received chiropractic care. The authors explain it by the fact that these patients claim to have had more explanations and more advice than those who consulted conventional doctors.
In 2004, a review evaluated the effectiveness of various headache treatments. Twenty-two studies, totaling 2,628 patients, subject to 5 different types of headaches, were selected of which 10 were interested in chiropractic.
Among these studies, treating cervico-genic headaches having an origin in the neck, reported that the chiropractic adjustments have a short-term effect on pain compared to massages and placebos. These studies also concluded that chiropractic is more effective than neck rehabilitation programs in the intensity and frequency of these headaches.
Two studies looking at tension headaches have demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic for immediate relief with no significant difference in the frequency of seizures.
Finally, three studies on migraines have reported similar results of chiropractic adjustments compared to crisis drug treatments but recall the fact that chiropractic treatments are associated with far fewer side effects.
Treat herniated discs and other lumbar dysfunctions
There is controversy about the effect of spinal adjustments on herniated discs. According to some researchers, these techniques are safe and effective, while others claim the opposite. The main risk alleged by some clinicians is that handling a hernia could lead to ponytail syndrome. However, the risk of complications resulting from spinal manipulation is estimated to be less than one in 3.7 million.
Fewer symptoms and more
If chiropractic no longer has to demonstrate its exploits in terms of back pain relief, it remains above all an alternative and global health science. A study conducted by Dr. Wayne Whittingham, a chiropractor in the United Kingdom, on 102 patients initially consulted for headaches notes in particular:
A reduction in the state of nervousness, procrastination, impaired concentration, memory, or speech in more than 50% of the cases as well as an improvement in mood, an increase in the desire to socialize and libido in 70 to 80% of cases after 9 weeks of care. Of the 102 patients, some voluntarily chose to continue treatment, a questionnaire sent a year later noted:
A more positive outlook on life for 78%, an improvement in their health beyond the reduction of headaches and a state of overall well-being for almost 70%; better sleep and better stress management for more than 50% of them. Almost 40% noted an increase in energy, 35% an improvement in their sexual activity, 30% had a better social and family activity, some took care to add that they had less pre-menstrual pain and allergic reactions.