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Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of treatment available
Michael D Pedigo, President
editor—If you would like information on chiropractic’s track record for treating low back pain2-1 perhaps you should ask the 20 million patients who will visit doctors of chiropractic this year alone. Patients’ satisfaction with chiropractic care has consistently rated higher than traditional medical care for low back pain. A recent study found that “compared to those who sought care from medical doctors, those who sought care from chiropractors were more likely to feel that treatment was helpful, more likely to be satisfied with their care, and less likely to seek care from another provider for that same episode of pain.”2-2
Shekelle et al showed that chiropractic treatment is appropriate for low back pain in a considerable number of cases. They found that 46% of a sample of patients with low back pain received appropriate care from doctors of chiropractic—an appropriateness rating similar to that of common medical procedures.2-3
Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of treatment available today. According to a study by Hurwitz et al, a serious adverse reaction from cervical manipulation occurs once in 1 million manipulations.2-4 Complication rates for manipulation of the lumbar region of the spine are even lower. When compared with the number of illnesses and deaths that will occur this year from the appropriate use of prescription and over the counter drugs, the number of serious complications from chiropractic treatment is extremely low. A study by Lazarou et al found that more than 2 million Americans become seriously ill every year from reactions to correctly prescribed drugs and 106 000 die from those side effects.2-5
My profession, like every other healthcare profession, is by no means beyond reproach. I agree that more and better chiropractic research is required. More and better medical research is required as well. I hope that the chiropractic and medical professions will continue to work together in this regard. Our patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
2-2. Carey TS, Evans AT, Hadler NM, Lieberman G, Kalsbeek WD, Jackman AM, et al. Acute severe low back pain. A population-based study of prevalence and care-seeking. Spine. 1996;21:339–344. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
2-3. Shekelle PG, Coulter I, Hurwitz EL, Genovese B, Adams AH, Mior SA, et al. Congruence between decisions to initiate chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain and appropriateness criteria in North America. Ann Intern Med. 1998;129:9–17. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
2-4. Hurwitz EL, Aker PD, Adams AH, Meeker WC, Shekelle PG. Manipulation and mobilization of the cervical spine. A systematic review of the literature. Spine. 1996;21:1746–1759. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]