Patient characteristics, practice activities, and one-month outcomes for chronic, recurrent low-back pain treated by chiropractors and family medicine physicians: a practice-based feasibility study
A ChiroSecure Research Update
Abstract: Chronic low-back pain is a significant public health problem for which few therapies are supported by predictable outcomes. In this report, practice activities and 1-month outcomes data are presented for 93 chiropractic patients and 45 medical patients with chronic, recurrent low-back pain.
A prospective, observational, community-based feasibility study involving chiropractors and family medicine physicians.
Discussion: Although differences were noted in age, sex, education, and employment, the patients were closely matched at baseline with respect to frequency, severity, and type of low-back pain and the psychosocial dimensions of general health. The treatment of choice for chiropractors was spinal manipulation and physical therapy modalities; for medical physicians antiinflammatory agents were most frequently used. Chiropractic patients averaged 4 visits, and medical patients averaged 1 visit. On average, chiropractic patients showed improvement across all outcomes: 31% change in pain severity, 29% in functional disability, 36% in sensory pain quality, and 57% in affective pain quality. Medical patients showed minimal improvement in pain severity (6%) and functional disability (1%) and showed deterioration in the sensory (29%) and affective (26%) dimensions of pain quality. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. Outcomes for medical patients were heavily dependent on psychosocial status at baseline.
Conclusion: Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors show greater improvement and satisfaction at 1 month than patients treated by family physicians. Nonclinical factors may play an important role in patient progress. Findings from the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded project will include a report on the influence of practice activities, including more frequent visits by chiropractic patients, on the clinical course of low-back pain and patient outcomes.
Reference: Nyiendo J, Haas M, Goodwin P. Patient characteristics, practice activities, and one-month outcomes for chronic, recurrent low-back pain treated by chiropractors and family medicine physicians: a practice-based feasibility study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 May;23(4):239-45. PMID: 10820296. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10820296/