As usual, I have to give my “this article is going to be biased” disclaimer because back related leg pain is something I see all the time in my Chiropractic office in Mesa.
Despite the experiences of myself and countless numbers of my colleagues, chiropractic care is not well associated with the treatment of leg pain. Some of this may be because the actual research documenting chiropractic’s effectiveness for many conditions is not common. Much of this is financial—there are too little government-funded studies on chiropractic care and we certainly do not have drug companies funding billions for chiropractic research to find out how to use less drugs in healthcare.
Which brings us to this particular study. In it, researchers compared the short (12 weeks) and long-term (52 weeks) effects of manipulation coupled with home exercise / advice to only home exercise / advice to check out the ability to reduce back-related leg pain.
While this study used the generic term “spinal manipulative therapy,” keep in mind that Mesa chiropractors perform the bulk of manipulations in the US and also perform it with the highest levels of safety.
Here’s the details of the study:
- 192 patients were enrolled who had back-related leg pain for least 4 weeks.
- They were put into one of the two groups above for 12 weeks.
- Chiropractic plus home exercise had better pain improvement at 12 weeks.
- After 52 weeks global improvement, satisfaction, and medication use were still improved.
- Not surprisingly, no serious treatment-related adverse events or deaths occurred.
Compare the outcomes of this to treatments like steroid injections of the spine: FAR, FAR more expensive, serious risk of side effects (such as early disc degeneration, nerve damage and increased risks of spinal surgery) and very little evidence that the benefits are sustained beyond the first few months.
Of course, I DID give the disclaimer at the beginning of this article…