For chronic low back pain, a recent study showed that chiropractic care relieved pain significantly better over the course of a year than did a physical therapy program of exercise. The study followed 235 patients by questionnaires for a year who had been randomly assigned to either of the two forms of care. At first both groups showed a decrease in both pain and disability. However, during the year after care the chiropractic group had significantly lower pain scores than did the subjets in the exercise program.
We are not surprised that both groups improved immediately after care. Indeed in typical practice we often recommend exercise in addition to chiropractic adjustments. In this study the researchers were evaluating a specific sort of chiropractic technique called flexion distraction, which is widely used by chiropractic doctors. They wanted to see if it was effective in and of itself and of course it was shown to be. But with both exercise and this type of chiropractic technique these patients might have seen even better results.
It is worth noting that chiropractic doctors have many different techniques available to use and we choose appropriate methods of care for each patient. In addition we may offer you specific recommendations on exercise, nutrition, and on many aspects of healthy living. Exercise is one of the essentials for good health and is often highly effective in the rehabilitation of painful conditions. So be diligent in doing exercises we suggest. This study shows that even the exercise program alone immediately lowered pain and disability for these patients with chronic pain. For continued preventive and long term pain management for lower back disabilities the vast majority of patients were more satisfied with chiropractic care.