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  • Writer's pictureDr. J

More Chiro Research

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

"Show me the research"... "It's pseudoscience"... "Nothing to back it"...

Hear it all the time (typically from older generations that bought into the bought propaganda that stems from the early 1900's when the AMA and the rest of conventional medicine was trying to stamp out every single form of natural health care)

This is NOT an exhaustive list, by a long shot... but some interesting articles to start with!

-Dr. J

Research on Chiropractic Care


Cost Benefit 2/08 Return on investment on wellness programs: Employers can save $1.65 in healthcare expenses for every $1 spent on a comprehensive employee-wellness/ chiropractic program, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupations and Environmental Medicine (JOEM). Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark Inc. conducted a study of its own corporate wellness program, which saved $1.3 million during a 4 year period. 5/07 Chiropractors who serve as primary care providers (PCPs) save patients money and have high patient satisfaction: A study in the 5/07 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics tracked data from a unique Independent Physicians Association (IPA) where chiropractors serve as first-contact, primary care physicians. The report analyzes data from 2003-2005 and found that patients visiting chiropractors had 60% fewer hospitalizations, 62% fewer surgeries and used 85% fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care. In addition, patients reported on the quality of care they received through the use of annual patient satisfaction surveys. During the 3 years of data, patients demonstrated a high degree of satisfaction with their care (96%, 94% and 91%, respectively). 2005 Back Pain less costly with 'alternative' care: 'Alternative' providers, predominantly chiropractors, report significantly less average cost per patient than when patients consult a 'conventional' provider, predominantly medical doctors ($342 vs. $506). These figures excluded patients requiring surgical or other hospital care. The study involved over 600,000 adults. Published in the research journal Spine. 9/04 Chiropractic is more cost effective than Medical care for Workers Compensation cases: The study was a retrospective review of 96,627 closed injury claims in North Carolina between 1975 and 1994. The results showed that the average cost of treatment, hospitalization, and compensation payments were higher for patients treated by Medical Doctors than for patients treated by Doctors of Chiropractic. The results further showed that the average number of lost workdays was less for patients treated by Chiropractors than MDs. The results were published in the 9/04 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 3/03 Chiropractic inclusion in Managed care plans saves money: A 4 year study conducted by researchers from the company American Specialty Health Plans, Inc. reviewed the health care utilization of 1.7 million people enrolled in a California managed-care plan. Approximately 1 million of the people had chiropractic coverage while the other 700,000 did not. The results showed that the total health care costs for people in the plans with chiropractic coverage were 12% lower than those without chiropractic coverage. The cost of treating people with low back pain was 28% lower in the group with chiropractic coverage. Chiropractic care reduced hospitalizations among back pain patients by 41% and reduced back surgeries by 32%. Chiropractic care reduced the cost of medical imaging by 37%. These results were reported in papers presented at the Research Agenda Conference held in March 2003 and were published in the October 2004 issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine. Back/Neck Pain & Headaches Chronic back pain is associated with brain shrinkage and atrophy.This study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience 2004. Using MRI brain scan data and automated analysis techniques, the authors compared brain morphology of 26 chronic back pain patients to matched control subjects. They found that the patients with chronic back pain had 5-11% less neocortical gray matter volume than control subjects. This brain shrinkage is equivalent to 10-20 years of normal aging! The longer a person has chronic back pain, the more their brain shrinks. 10/05 Chiropractic is effective for chronic back pain: A group ofchronic low back pain patients who underwent chiropractic treatment showed higher pain relief and satisfaction with the care and lower disability scores than a group that underwent medical care. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Chiropractic care shown to be more effective than acupuncture and anti-inflammatory drugs for chronic neck and back pain. A 2003 study in the journal Spine looked at people with 4.5-8.3 years of chronic spinal pain. All participants were evaluated with standard measurement outcome questionnaires. Those people that received the anti-inflammatory drugs (Celebrex or Vioxx) had 4.5-6.4 years of chronic spinal pain. Only 5% were asymptomatic within 9 weeks, 6.1% suffered an adverse event, and only 18% reported improvement in general health status. In the needle acupuncture group, the participants also had 4.5-6.4 years of chronic spinal pain. 9.4% were asymptomatic within 9 weeks, none of them suffered an adverse event, and 15% reported improvement in general health status. The group receiving chiropractic care had 8.3 years of chronic spinal pain. 27.3% were asymptomatic within 9 weeks, none of them suffered an adverse event, and 47% reported improvement in general health status! A year after the completion of this study the participants were re-evaluated and the results published in theJournal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics. In this follow-up study, results showed that neither the drugs Celebrex/Vioxx nor needle acupuncture afforded a long term therapeutic benefit to the chronic spinal pain patients (only one improvement outcome out of 7 for both groups). In contrast, chiropractic spinal adjustments did show a significant long term therapeutic benefit (statistically significant improvement in 5 of 7 outcomes). Neck adjustments provide relief for chronic headaches. The Journal of Chiropractic published a pilot study by Wittingham in 1994 in which 26 patients with headaches participated. Each patient received neck adjustments over a 2 week period. All but 2 of the patients experienced significant improvement in headache frequency, duration and severity. The overall duration of headaches decreased by 77%, the overall score for severity showed a 60% improvement in perceived pain, and the frequency of the headache also improved by 62%. Chiropractic adjustments more effective that other treatments for headaches. In a study conducted by the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center, researchers assessed evidence from a large number of randomized controlled trials for the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments and other treatments for tension-type and cervicogenic headaches. The study showed that chiropractic adjustments resulted in a 49% decrease in severity compared to no change in rest period groups. Also when compared to soft-tissue therapy (massage), chiropractic adjustments reduced headache frequency by 69% and severity by 36%, compared to the respective soft-tissue reductions of 37% and 17%. Chiropractic adjustments also showed better results that the headache drug amitriptyline. This study showed that 82% of patients taking amitriptyline report adverse side effects from the drug, while only 4% report any adverse effects to chiropractic care. Immune System Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to have a significant effect on the function of the immune system. In fact, the World Chiropractic Alliance lists over 100 references which highlight the positive relationship between chiropractic care and immune function. According to the research, those who have regular chiropractic care will tend to experience fewer acute ailments (colds, flu, etc.) and less chronic illness (allergies, asthma, eczema, etc.) A single chiropractic adjustment reduces inflammatory cytokines in asymptomatic people. The January 2006 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics published a research study that demonstrated that a single chiropractic adjustment in the thoracic spine reduces the inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha) and IL-1beta (interleukin- 1beta). 64 asymptomatic patients were assigned to 3 groups: chiropractic adjustment, sham adjustment, or control group. Blood and serum samples were obtained before and at 20 and 120 minutes after treatment. Whole blood cultures were activated with lipopolysaccharide. A significant proportion of the sham and control group participants demonstrated progressive increases in the synthesis of TNF- alpha and IL-1beta. Conversely, in the group that received a chiropractic adjustment, the production of both cytokines decreased gradually. Note: TNF- alpha is associated with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis and asthma. It has also been implicated in cancer. IL-1beta leads to chronic pain. A single chiropractic adjustment enhances the production of a substance that improves immune function. 76 asymptomatic patients participated in this study. 29 received chiropractic adjustments with audible release in the upper thoracic spine, 23 received sham chiropractic adjustments without audible release in the upper thoracic spine, and 24 comprised the control group. Blood and serum samples were obtained before and at 20 and 120 minutes after treatment. Blood cultures were induced by activation with Staphylococcal protein. Compared to the control group, the blood taken at 20 minutes post- treatment from both of the chiropractic adjustment groups demonstrated significantly increased secretion of IL-2. With samples taken at 2 hours post-treatment, significant elevation of IL-2 synthesis was still apparent in the group that received a chiropractic adjustment with audible release, but IL-2 synthesis became attenuated in the group that received a chiropractic adjustment without an audible release. These results were published in the May 2008 issue of Chiropractic & Osteopathy.Note: IL-2 is type of cytokine immune system signaling molecule that is instrumental in the body's natural response to microbial infection and in discriminating between foreign (non-self) and self. IL-2 is known to fight cancer. Vertebral Alignment involved in allergic diseases like eczema & asthma. Japanese researchers published this research in 2004 in theInternet Journal of Orthopedic Surgery. They worked with over 2700 patients who had either bronchial asthma or atopic dermatitis. It was noted that the majority of these patients had misalignments in lower thoracic spine. In addition, the muscular system that supports and maintains the spine was in noticeably poor condition in atopic dermatitis and bronchial asthma patients alike. Among the atopic dermatitis patients that received frequent spinal correction treatments for 3-6 months, 88% showed improvement in skin itching and 72% showed improvement in overall skin condition. Among the asthma patients, 86% showed improvement in symptoms. In addition, the most significant asthma improvements were made in kids ages 6-20, with 92% of them showing symptom improvement! Chiropractic care improves CD4 count of patients. 10 HIV positive patients were randomly assigned to two groups. One group received specific upper cervical chiropractic adjustments and the other group received sham adjustments. The study lasted for 6 months. CD4 count was measured at the beginning and end of the study because a decline in the white blood cell level is an essential immunodeficiency measure in HIV positive people. In the control group, CD4 count decline by a mean of 7.96%, while in the group received chiropractic adjustments, CD4 count increased by a mean of 48%! This research was published in the Chiropractic Research Journalin 1994. Increased serum immunoglobulin levels and increased lymphocyte counts after chiropractic adjustments. A review of the literature at the time was published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia in 1993. The author described several studies that indicated increased serum immunoglobulin levels and increased lymphocyte counts after chiropractic adjustments. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils and monocytes demonstrate increased functional activity after chiropractic adjustments. In the 1991, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeuticspublished a study in which the participants were divided into three groups. They either received chiropractic adjustments to the thoracic spine, had a sham adjustment (light force with no joint release), or had soft tissue manipulation (light massage). Blood was drawn before and after their treatments and it was found that the people in the group receiving chiropractic adjustments showed increased functional activity of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and monocytes, whereas the people in the other two groups did not demonstrate this increased immune activity. Note: Polymorphonuclear neutrophils are phagocytic white blood cells. Monocytes are also phagocytic and are involved in the process that activates lymphocytes to produce antibodies when non-self proteins are present. Wellness, Prevention and Asymptomatic Care 4/04 Health benefits of chiropractic care for asymptomatic persons. An article published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research provided a literature review that looked at objective physiologic changes and associated health benefits of chiropractic adjustments in patients without any symptoms. The author reported improvements in ranges of motion, muscle strength, immunological responses, beta-endorphin levels, blood pressure, papillary cycle time, heart rate variability, and spirometry. Significant changes were also reported in studies assessing agility, balance, kinesthetic perception, power, speed reaction, and athletic performance. The study also citied various studies that showed objective improvements in symptomatic subjects. They included improvements in neurocognitive function, visual field blind spot analysis, visual acuity, salivary cortisol levels, muscle strength, health-related behaviors, and savings in health care costs. In addition, there were many immune system studies that reported increases in immunoglobulins IgA, IgG, IgM, improved CD4 cell counts in HIV+ subjects, as well as decreased triglyceride levels, decreased blood pressure in persons with hypertension, improved cardiac function, and remission of duodenal ulcers confirmed by endoscopy. Regular chiropractic care is beneficial in maintaining functional improvements. 30 people who were suffering from long term back problems were divided into two groups. The first group received intensive chiropractic care for one month, followed by a reduced schedule ("maintenance care") of once every three weeks for 9 months after the initial intensive care. The second group received nothing for the first month, to establish a baseline, then one month of initial intensive care. They did not receive any care after this month of intensive care. The two groups were evaluated with the Oswestry Disability Index, a scientifically designed questionnaire used to measure a person's function as related to their daily activities. It was found that both groups maintained their pain reduction after the study was completed, regardless of whether or not they had the maintenance care. However, the patients in the group that received maintenance care were able to maintain the functional improvement they made during the initial care and the patients who did not receive maintenance care returned to the same levels of functional impairment that they were experiencing prior to the initial chiropractic care. These results were published in the October 2004 issue of the