If you noticed your chiropractor walking
around with larger than usual smile on their face this past month, there is a
good reason for it.
In a new survey by Consumer Reports,
chiropractic care outperformed all other back-pain treatments, including
prescription and over-the-counter medications, deep-tissue massage, yoga and
The survey, released by a Consumer Reports
in late July, found that 65 per cent of those surveyed using chiropractic care
for back pain said it helped a lot. Only 53 per cent of respondents using
prescription medications found them as helpful.
Additionally, about half of those surveyed
who are using deep-tissue massage, yoga or Pilates said those treatments helped
a lot and only 28 per cent of respondents using over-the-counter medications
reported that they helped a lot.
The American Chiropractic Association noted
that current evidence-based guidelines support the use of conservative care
such as chiropractic for conditions such as chronic lower back pain.
In 2007, the Annals of Internal Medicine
published low back pain guidelines developed by the American Pain Society and
the American College of Physicians. Those guidelines recommended that, for
patients who do not improve with self-care, doctors should consider
non-pharmacologic therapies, such as chiropractic care, massage therapy and
The American Chiropractic Association
stressed the need for treatment that was non-pharmacological.
The issue of pain relief has gained
visibility recently with the release of an American government report which
found that while the use of some illegal drugs has diminished, the abuse of
prescription medications has sharply increased – particularly prescription
opioid pain relievers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.
The report points out that unintentional
opioid overdoses (once almost exclusively the fate of heroin abusers) are today
increasingly caused by prescription painkiller abuse.
“As this latest survey helps to
demonstrate, chiropractic care is an evidence-based and effective treatment
that can prevent patients from resorting to powerful drugs with potentially
harmful consequences,” said American Chiropractic Association President Dr.
Rick McMichael in a press release.
“I urge health care providers, whenever
possible, to recommend drug-free, conservative care interventions for their
patients before prescribing medications that may be associated with negative
side effects. Patients deserve to know their options,” he said.
Doctors of chiropractic provide drug-free,
non-invasive treatment for many types of painful conditions, including acute
and chronic back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches.
Dr. Jemal Khan is a chiropractor based in
the Cayman Islands.