A new study from Italy published in the March issue of The Spine Journal, showed that chiropractic care was effective in helping patients with acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion. This randomized double-blind clinical trial involved 102 ambulatory patients with at least moderate pain or radiating pain, who had an MRI study showing disc protrusion.
The patients were divided into two groups. One group received chiropractic adjustments 5 days per week by experienced chiropractors, with a maximum of 20 visits. The second group received what the study termed, "simulated manipulations" in order to have a group for comparison to those receiving real chiropractic care.
The results showed that those who got the real chiropractic care improved significantly over the group that received the simulated manipulations. In the group that received the chiropractic care, 55% were free of radiating pain in the follow ups compared to 20% of patients who got the simulated manipulations. Additionally, when measuring local pain, 28% of those who received real chiropractic were free of local pain, versus only 6% of those who got the simulated manipulation.
The results also showed improvements in days of pain with the group that received the real care reporting 6 less days of pain than those in the simulated care group. In addition to these benefits the group with the real care reported using less medications to help with the pain as a result of the chiropractic care.
In this study none of the patients in either group had any adverse effects, and one from each group did report no results at all and were listed as "treatment failures". The researchers conclusions were, "Active manipulations have more effect than simulated manipulations on pain relief for acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion."