What happens to neck and low back pain patients who see chiropractors?

Low back pain (LBP) and neck pain (NP) are significant problems, causing high societal and economic burden despite the majority of cases having low levels of disability. What do we know about how chiropractic patients progress through their neck and low back pain experiences - in other words, what are the trajectories? A mounting body of evidence supports viewing spinal pain episodes as part of a lifelong pain experience rather than unrelated, separate events.

This week’s Review summarizes two recent and related papers looking at this very concept. In the first study, Wirth and colleagues aimed to study the trajectories and outcomes of patients with chronic LBP who were referred from the spine division of an orthopedic university hospital to a chiropractic teaching clinic in Switzerland for 12 months following the initiation of chiropractic treatment. Less than 20% of patients with LBP who see a surgeon are surgical candidates, making it important to have close collaboration between spine surgeons and non-surgical spine experts.

In the second study, Ailliet and colleagues evaluated the trajectories of both NP and LBP to see if there were distinct groups of patients who followed different pathways over 6 months after beginning chiropractic treatment. More specifically, they wondered if individuals who fell into these groups showed distinct characteristics at baseline and follow-up, as well as whether NP and LBP followed the same trajectories. Research like this helps inform patient communication strategies and helps us understand the overall nature of spinal pain…LOG IN OR SUBSCRIBE!

THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Trajectories of Chiropractic Low Back & Neck Pain Patients”
This Review summarizes two papers published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies (2019) and the European Journal of Pain (2018). This Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain and the 2019 Archive.

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