Research published in the January 2005 issue of the scientific periodical the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT) showed that patients with chronic spinal pain syndromes did markedly better than patients who received either medication or acupuncture.
Participants in this study were those who had pain for more than 13 weeks. These participants were divided into three groups who exclusively received one type of care. One group got medication, one group received acupuncture and one group received chiropractic care. The participants were evaluated using standardized questionnaires. These questionnaires were given initially when the participant entered the study, then again 9 weeks after the initiation of care. These results were then compared to repeat questionnaires given to the same patients 12 months later.
Researchers were extremely careful to exclude patients who were receiving multiple forms of care for their problem. Their intent was to have the results only reflect benefits from a single type of care. In this way outside factors could be minimized and the results should be attributed exclusively to the type of care the patient received.
Results showed that 12 months later, only the group that received chiropractic care was still experiencing significant improvement. Researchers noted that all three groups had experienced some short term benefits from their various care. They also noted that the patients who got acupuncture did better than those who were in the group that received medication. However, they noted that the group receiving chiropractic are showed the best results. The authors concluded "Overall, patients who have chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes and received spinal manipulation gained significant broad-based beneficial short-term and long-term outcomes."