Part of the Evidence in Action series by the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research
Clinical guidelines for adults with acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain support conservative management with spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). Research shows SMT is comparable to other noninvasive treatments in reducing low back pain and disability with relatively low risk for adverse events. However, the mechanisms leading to pain relief from SMT are poorly understood. Identifying therapeutic mechanisms of SMT can inform treatment strategies and lead to more effective care.
October is National Chiropractic Health Month, a fitting designation as on Oct. 30, 1972, President Nixon signed into law H.R. 1, the Social Security Amendments of 1972, ending three years of deliberations on what would improve the program. What the president called "landmark legislation" included the significant and far-reaching provision of defining chiropractors as “physicians” in the Medicare program under Sec. 18619(r)(5) of the Social Security Act. Unfortunately, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulators interpreted the law to define the physician status granted to chiropractors in a way that restricted their ability to participate meaningfully, on a level of basic parity.
Back pain remains a persistent and debilitating problem for many people in the United States and around the world. News that the opioid crisis in America has been fueled in part by the overprescribing of pain medications for low back pain amplifies the need for the chiropractic profession to continue spreading its message about the value of a conservative approach to back pain treatment. To this end, National Chiropractic Health Month (NCHM) goes “Back to Basics” this year by focusing on overall health and injury prevention as key strategies in maintaining spinal health throughout a lifetime—and highlighting the growing body of research supporting a conservative approach to back pain treatment.
*Member-Exclusive Content* In February 2017, the American College of Physicians (ACP) published a guideline calling for both physicians and patients to consider non-pharmacological options first when treating acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain (LBP). Specifically, it recommends superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation for acute and subacute LBP, and exercise, tai chi, yoga, spinal manipulation and progressive relaxation for chronic LBP.
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