The May 2001 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) carried a report of a study on the effect of chiropractic care on patients with recurrent or long lasting low back pain. Numerous studies over past years have shown that chiropractic care was beneficial for patients with acute and short term back pain. However, due to the difficulty of conducting a large study, research to show what thousands of chiropractors and their patients have known about help with long term back pain was scarce.
A total of 19 Norwegian chiropractors participated in this study. In all 158 patients were studied, all of whom fit the criteria of suffering from long lasting or reoccurring lower back pain for at least two weeks duration, with at least one previous occurrence in the previous 6 months. All subjects could not have had any chiropractic care in the prior 6 months to be eligible to participate in the study. Participants were questioned each visit to rate their progress as it relates to the pain.
The results showed that approximately 50% of patients reported that they had "improved" at the 4th visit. By the 12th visit, approximately 75% of the patients reported that "improvement" had occurred. The study only recorded data for the first 12 visits so no data on additional benefits after 12 visits was available. The researchers did conclude, "there seems to be a distinct recovery pattern among chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurrent lower back pain."