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Research to undermine chiropractics instead underscores its effectiveness


Researchers are saying there is little evidence to support the use of spinal manipulation to treat headaches. In particular they looked at the cervicogenic headache which is caused by neck strain.

But can the millions of Americans who see chiropractors for headaches be wrong? After reviewing nine studies Dr. Edzard Ernst, co-author from the Peninsula Medical School in the UK, found that spinal manipulation “does not demonstrably generate more good than harm.” Of the 9 trials, six suggested that treatment was better at reducing pain than other types of treatments like physical therapy, massage, medication or no treatment at all, but the remaining three studies suggested chiropractic treatment was not better than the others.

In spite of the fact that the majority of these studies say spinal manipulation works, the authors disagreed. They focused on potential complications associated with treatments. A 1996 RAND study showed severe complications including stroke in a miniscule percentage of patients. They did review another study which showed more secondary complications.

“It follows that there is a problem, we don’t how large it is, and we should as always, err on the safe side,” Ernst said. I’m not convinced there is a problem.

There may be a lack of compelling evidence that spinal manipulation works for neck strain headaches. Still, six out of nine studies recommend it, and the only study that shows complications found a fraction of a percent of serious problems which may or may not be due to the spinal treatment. When you are in chronic pain from a headache and spinal manipulation works for you allowing you to be productive and participate in life, I say you err on the side pain free living.

Source: Reuters, Headache online


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