We admit that chiropractic had some rather quackish beginnings.  D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic in the late 19th century once said, “A subluxated vertebra… is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases… The other five percent is caused by displaced joints other than those of the vertebral column.”[1]

We definitely disagree with the quote above and rest-assured will never claim to be a cure-all.  To compare, Western medicine also had its share of questionable beliefs and practices.  Even in the 20th century doctors used arsenic and mercury to treat syphilis, and some prescribed radioactive juice [2] to stimulate the thyroid, adrenals and gonads.  We can all be thankful that both Western medicine and chiropractic have come a long way thanks to modern research and education.  Chiropractic is now a four-year doctorate program with four rounds of national boards in chiropractic and one in physiotherapy.  And while there are still philosophy-based chiropractors out there, the newer curriculums are focused on evidence-based practice, and this we are happy to be a part of!  Today, we start a series on what research shows to work.  Our first topic is the all-too-prevalent issue of low back pain. 

The Evidence for Chiropractic and Low Back Pain

Almost a fifth of US adults experience back pain in a given year [3]  and up to 80% in their lifetime.[4]
People have long been going to chiropractors for low-back pain and now we have the research to substantiate the practice.   Systematic reviews (reviews of years of research studies) show that chiropractic care decreases pain and disability both in the short-term and the long-term.[5]   A 2018 study found that chiropractic care in addition to traditional medicine was far more effective than medical treatment alone.[6] The results were statistically significant in favor the addition of chiropractic treatment showing reduced low-back pain intensity, reduced disability and increased satisfaction with care. Not a surprise!  The majority of low-back pain is mechanical, a result of an aberrant movement like shoveling heavy snow or from chronic posture or gait patterns.  Addressing the muscles and other soft tissue as well as the joint mechanics gets to the root of the problem, as opposed to masking it with painkillers. Our favorite way to work through the soft tissue- Active Release Techniques!