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Spinal manipulation not effective for back pain

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Chiropractic spinal manipulation is unlikely to bring additional relief for patients being treated for acute low back pain, according to a study.

Swiss researchers say they have found little evidence to prove the value of adding spinal manipulation to standard treatments for the condition.

A team from the University of Berne divided 104 patients into two groups - one undergoing a standard treatment consisting of medical advice and painkillers, and the second with additional spinal adjustments.

They found that on a standard scale, the reduction in pain for both groups was similar, as was the use of painkillers such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), diclofenac and dihydrocodeine.

The team concluded that there was no “relevant benefit” from the extra chiropractic care.

In their report published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Dr Peter Juni and colleagues note: “We found no evidence for a clinically relevant benefit of (spinal manipulation) in addition to standard care in patients with acute low back pain.

“While we cannot exclude that specific subgroups of patients with acute low back pain will benefit from adding (spinal manipulation) to standard care, we believe that…our trial provide(s) reliable evidence that the majority of patients with acute low back pain can be effectively treated without (spinal manipulation).”

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