“Once you go to a chiropractor, you ALWAYS have to go.”

Dr. Stephanie Maj discusses some important new research about chiropractic care for back pain and the benefits of maintenance care.

Many people are told by friends that once you start going to the chiropractor  you have to keep going in order to keep the pain away. Chiropractors often advise their patients to go on “maintenance care” in which regular spinal adjustments are given every two or four weeks. This is thought to keep the spine and low back healthy and prevent re-injury and pain. New research further confirms this.

This new, single blinded placebo controlled study, conducted by the Faculty of Medicine at Mansoura University, conclusively demonstrates that maintenance care provides significant benefits for those with chronic low back pain.

BACKGROUND: Spinal manipulation (SMT) is a common treatment option for low back pain. Numerous clinical trials have attempted to evaluate its effectiveness for different subgroups of acute and chronic LBP previously, but the efficacy of maintenance SMT in chronic non-specific LBP has never been studied.

In this study, 60 patients with chronic, nonspecific LBP lasting at least 6 months were randomized into 3 groups:

1. One third of them received 12 treatments of sham SMT over a one-month period.

2. One third of them received 12 treatments of SMT during a one-month period, with no follow-up care during the next nine months, and

3. One third of them received 12 SMT visits during the first month, followed by “maintenance” SMT every two weeks, for the next nine months.

To determine any difference among these 3 care groups, researchers measured pain and disability scores, generic health status, and back-specific patient satisfaction at baseline, and at 1-month, 4-months, 7-months, and at 10-months

RESULTS: Patients in manipulative groups (groups 2 & 3) experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores than the sham group at the end of the first 1-month period.

At the 10-month follow-up, only the maintenance group maintained improvements in pain and disability, while the group that only received 1-months care had reverted to their pretreatment pain and disability levels.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first medically managed trial that clearly demonstrates that maintenance care provides significant benefits to those who suffer from chronic low back

To summarize that information above: the group that received chiropractic maintenance care experienced better health and less pain. The group that received just one month of care for their back pain experienced improvement, but less than the group that stayed on for maintenance care. And both chiropractic groups did better than the group that was not adjusted at all.

Headache and Neck Pain Research Update

Here at Park Bench Chiropractic in Frederick we think it’s very important to stay up-to-date with the latest scientific research regarding chiropractic and conditions like neck-related headaches. From time to time we will summarize recent research on topics we find important for our patients as a service to the community. We believe that knowledge is power – especially with your health – and this will help people make informed decisions about their health options.

Today’s article is about the difference between headaches that originate from the head and those headaches that originate from the neck. Many times you can get a headache and the cause of that headache is a problem in your neck muscles or spinal misalignment.

While neck-related headache (“cervicogenic headache”) can have symptoms very similar to a migraine, one of the main differences is the presence of pain down to the shoulder or arm and a history of neck trauma.

This makes sense when you consider that for a headache to be cervicogenic it must be one that has a source in the neck which refers pain to the head. This means that a source must be identified. Restricted range of cervical motion, tenderness over the zygapophyseal joints, and occipital tenderness have all been used as diagnostic criteria, although interobserver reliability is low.

Studies have been done that completely anesthetize different nerve root levels, and some of these studies were successful in completely eliminating the pain. This clearly demonstrates that the pain was being referred from nerves in the neck. Other similar studies doing the same thing weren’t successful.

Perhaps the best way to definitively diagnose a headache as cervicogenic is to treat the supposed neck condition and then, if the treatment is successful, then researches concluded that the headache must have been from a pain source in the neck.

Source: Distinguishing primary headache disorders from cervicogenic headache – Clinical and therapeutic implications, University of Newcastle Department of Clinical Research, Newcastle Hospital, New South Wales, Australia