A research paper published in the March/April 2014 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), showed that patients with lumbar disc herniations found on MRI were helped by chiropractic. The authors explain, “The purposes of this study were to evaluate patients with low-back pain (LBP) and leg pain due to magnetic resonance imaging–confirmed disc herniation.”
In the opening of the report the authors write, “Approximately 70% of the population will have back pain at some point in time.1 Low-back pain (LBP) with associated leg pain due to a herniated intervertebral disc is one of the most severe and disabling forms of back pain.”
The study looked at patients with either chronic long term back pain or acute lower back pain, and followed their results for up to a year after the onset of chiropractic care. The researchers compared the patients, “…short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes of self-reported global impression of change and pain levels at various time points up to 1 year.”
In this study, 148 patients between the ages of 18 to 65 years with lower back pain and leg pain who were also confirmed to have lumbar disc herniation from an MRI study, were given chiropractic care. The process, described by the researchers as, “high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation,” was delivered by doctors of chiropractic in Zürich, Switzerland.
Patients accepted for the study were evaluated at the time frames of 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after the initial chiropractic consultation. The patients were asked to self-evaluate themselves into one of the following categories which included, “much worse, worse, slightly worse, no change, slightly better, better, and much better.”
The results of the study showed that after only 2 weeks of care, 69.9% considered themselves better or much better. After one month of chiropractic care, 79.6% were better or much better, as were 90.5% of the patients at the three-month evaluation. After that point, with no additional chiropractic care being rendered, the results remained at 88% better or much better with only 2.8% reporting that they were worse to some degree.
The authors said that in all the patients included in this study, “There were no adverse events reported.” In their conclusion, the authors noted that the results were very good for both those patients who had acute or chronic lower back issues due to disc herniation. “A large percentage of acute and importantly chronic lumbar disc herniation patients treated with chiropractic spinal manipulation reported clinically relevant improvement.”