Does Chiropractic Work?

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The effects of chiropractic treatment on the body and health of patients has fascinated researchers for decades. Medical studies and clinical trials are an important part of the scientific process of learning how our bodies work and what treatments can help them heal.

Chiropractic Works

Time and again medical studies show us that yes, chiropractic works to treat pain and injuries. Chiropractic treats the injury rather than masking the pain. I’ve highlighted three studies that shed light on the effects of chiropractic, including:

Study Proves Chiropractic Effective Pain Care

“My wife has TMJ and carpal tunnel syndrome, and she finds Graffeo’s treatments very effective,” said Troy H. in a Yelp review for my clinic, Graffeo Chiropractic. “My four and a half year old daughter was adjusted by Dr. Graffeo for the first time for earaches and neck pain … I should’ve taken a video of Dr. Graffeo adjusting her neck, she was so happy after this adjustment.”

Reviews like this one illustrate how chiropractic reduces pain, but this raises the question: Is the treatment working or is it just a placebo effect? A placebo is a beneficial effect brought about not by a treatment itself, but by the patient’s belief in the treatment. It’s a useful topic to explore when studying pain treatment.

In 2016 a double-blind trial divided patients into two groups: those receiving chiropractic treatment and those receiving “simulated” chiropractic treatment. This study focused on whether chiropractic treatment or the patient’s belief in the treatment (a placebo effect) reduced pain.

The study concluded that chiropractic treatment is effective for pain relief for acute back pain, sciatica and disc protrusion. In other words, chiropractic care is not providing a placebo effect, it genuinely reduced the pain levels in patients.

Chiropractic for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear from patients. This isn’t surprising considering most people think of a spinal manipulation when they think of chiropractic. I explain how a spinal manipulation is used to treat back pain: 

A very recent study divided 750 back pain patients at military hospitals into two groups. One group received “usual medical care” including seeing a doctor, taking pain medications, undergoing physical therapy and performing exercises. The other group received “usual medical care” and chiropractic treatment.

Lead researcher Christine Goertz states in the article, “We found that at every time point, those patients that received chiropractic care had better outcomes in terms of their level of pain intensity and pain-related disability … In addition, we also found that patients who saw the chiropractor tended to be much more satisfied with the care they received, and more likely to have perceived benefit from the care they received.”

One important component of this study is that chiropractic treatment was not provided within a vacuum. Just like at my clinic, chiropractic treatment was one important component of a treatment plan. I often recommend stretches, exercises and complementary treatment to help relax or strengthen the muscles around an injury. 

I explain the effects of chiropractic treatment on the spine and nervous system in my blog post on the medical science behind chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic Reduces Opioid Use

It’s no secret the US is dealing with an opioid epidemic. A recent study set out to see if an increased availability and utilization of chiropractic care could reduce the use of prescription opioids. The study analyzed data on patients with lower back pain in New Hampshire, a state that has the second highest rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in the country.

The study concluded that the likelihood of filling an opioid prescription was 55 percent lower among patients who visited a chiropractor compared to patients who did not receive chiropractic treatment.

When someone is experiencing pain and they choose to deal with it with any type of drug such as an opioid, the drug itself is not going to heal the body. In fact, it’s only going the mask or hide the pain symptoms from the patient. Chiropractic can be a crucial part of a patient’s plan to get off opioids and treat the injury and pain that led to opioid use in the first place. See my blog post Chiropractic Care Helps Patient Stop Using Opioids for more information.

Still wondering if chiropractic works? Check out Graffeo Chiropractic’s patient reviews on Facebook to read first hand accounts of how chiropractic helped them heal from injuries and reduce pain.

Do you have questions about chiropractic? My staff and I are happy to answer all your questions before you decided on treatment. In fact, my clinic provides complimentary consultations free of charge to new patients. Contact us for more information.

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About Author

Dr. Joe Graffeo

Chiropractor Dr. Joe Graffeo joined his family practice, Graffeo Chiropractic, in 1999. Patient education is an important part of his practice. He takes time to listen and talk with his patients about their symptoms, injuries and concerns. For Dr. Graffeo, being a chiropractor is more than a profession; it is a way of life – and health. When he's not helping his patients, he enjoys sports and outdoor activities with his family and their dogs. Call 503-255-5522 for a courtesy visit at Graffeo Chiropractic Clinic.

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