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Chiropractic Care is Shown to Aid in Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Millions of people around the globe practice some sort of physical therapy every year, for a plethora of reasons. A broken elbow can require many range of motion tests, while ankle sprains can cause recurrent injuries lasting for years. Major injuries to the spine or musculoskeletal system, can result in long roads to recovery with frequent trips to the doctor and physical therapist costing time, pain, and money. High pain levels may be treated with prescription medication, although long-term pain management would need to be assessed.

As chiropractic care has continued to rise in popularity, so has research looking at the efficacy of treating back injuries with such care when compared to traditional physical therapy wellness plans. A recent study looked at the long-term benefits of chiropractic vs physical therapy as measured by annual number of office visits. While most studies rely on future self-reported pain and disability from participants, this is one the first study to look at the two from a different angle. The aim of the study was to see how much care participants sought, once their treatments had concluded, and thus perhaps better determine the efficacy of each particular treatment method on future health care consumption.

The study began with 191 patients suffering from lower back pain. 107 of the patients received chiropractic care and 84 received active exercise physical therapy. All of the participants received their treatments two to four times per week for four weeks. A year-long post assessment period followed the treatment phase. During this time, researchers found that 38 percent of the chiropractic group sought after care compared to 54 percent of the physical therapy group. The chiropractic group also had an average of 2.2 visits to a health care provider post treatment while the other group averaged six visits.

Based on these results, the research team confirmed that the participants who engaged in chiropractic care had overall higher success, when compared to the physical therapy group. Many in the first group were able to reach a baseline level, leading to a less intensive maintenance program, while the second group were more likely to stick with their progressive exercises. The results are exciting for proponents of chiropractic as it is shown to be a valid treatment option for those suffering with back issues. When added to a wellness plan, it has now shown to expedite recovery and perhaps even prevent long-term problems down the road.

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