The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) is pleased to see a significant chiropractic study published in the new Open Access Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Network). The study, “Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain: A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial”1 found that military members who utilized chiropractic care with their usual medical care (UMC) for low back pain had statistically better outcomes than those who did not utilize chiropractic care.
The study – the largest randomized clinical trial in chiropractic research in the U.S. to-date – took place from September 2012 to February 2016 and involved 750 active-duty U.S. military personnel at three sites across the country. There were clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements in the back-related functions of those utilizing chiropractic plus UMC (62.6%) compared to those who received UMC alone (46.6%) as well as improvement in pain (57.5% vs 32.5%).
In his invited commentary to JAMA Network, Daniel C. Cherkin, M.A., Ph.D wrote, “Superior outcomes for the group receiving UMC plus chiropractic care were largely maintained after 12 weeks, 6 weeks after chiropractic care had ended. No serious adverse effects were identified.”2 Cherkin goes on to say, “Because of the trial’s large sample size, high follow-up rates (approximately 90% at 6 weeks), and strong analytic methods, the findings are unlikely to be spurious.” “This patient-centered, multi-site, pragmatic clinical trial provides the strongest evidence to-date that chiropractic care is safe, effective and can be integrated into multidisciplinary health-care settings,” said Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., lead author of the study. “These findings are critical as the United States health-care system looks for ways to implement existing national guidelines from groups such as the American College of Physicians and the Joint Commission that recommend non-drug treatments, such as spinal manipulative therapy, as the first line of treatment for low-back pain.
When asked for a comment by ICA on this study, leading expert in integrative health research design, Retired U.S. Army Col. Wayne Jonas, M.D., and author of the recently released book, How Healing Works3 , said: “This is a rigorous, large study of chiropractic care for back pain in the military. As a pragmatic study it looked at the benefit for back pain from adding chiropractic care to what service members currently get. Bottom line is that adding chiropractic care helps improve back pain more than usual care alone. In this time of high opioid use for pain, we desperately need more non-drug approaches to chronic pain. Chiropractic should become a standard part of these options for our military.” “The outcomes of this latest study,” said Beth Clay, ICA’s Director of Government Relations, “support ICA’s position that our nation’s military members deserve full and unfettered access to chiropractic care.
As Congress works on the FY19 budget, ICA urges increased research resources and clear instructions to increase chiropractic research funding be provided to the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health.” Dr. Michael McLean, DC, chairman of ICA’s Legislative Committee stated, “The men and woman of our armed services and their families deserve the best health care our nation can provide.
This study adds to the growing body of care provides meaningful benefit and should become more easily available to those who serve and their families.”
- Goertz CM, Long CR, Vining RD, Pohlman KA, Walter J, Coulter I. Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain A Comparative Effectiveness Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(1):e180105. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0105
- Cherkin DC. Innovating to improve care for Low Back Pain in the Military Chiropractic Care Passes Muster. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(1):e180106. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0106 3. http://howhealingworks.org/