Consumer Reports September 2011 issue on Alternative Therapies shows chiropractic treatment for back pain is most helpful
Consumer Reports surveyed over 45000 readers to determine what works best for different problems. With regards to back pain, chiropractic was way ahead of other treatments in effectiveness with 65% saying it helped a lot, followed by medication 53% and deep tissue massage 51%.
They also reported osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, headache, and migraine as well as other problems.
While this is raw data, unfortunately, it does not go into more detail regarding what was involved in the treatments that were successful. Of course, medication is taking a pill and looking for the effect. Chiropractors use many methods to get their results; some are more effective than others. Having 65% of the people saying it works, in general, is huge. Many chiropractors combine exercises, soft tissue work, and even supplementation to get a better long-term outcome, so you should not take any of these categories in the study at face value.
This builds upon their 2009 study which was led by a medical doctor who also surprisingly showed chiropractic was the most effective.
What is a consumer to do? Choose the most effective with the fewest side effects and this has proven to be chiropractic. They also stated that “their chiropractor was more interested and insightful than their medical doctors”. Incidentally, they also said the same of their acupuncturist.
There are many conditions that are helped not necessarily because chiropractors do manipulation, however, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, chiropractors tend to be more insightful. In our office, it means we look outside the box, and rather than trying to treat the symptoms, we go after the biomechanical cause of the problem. Chiropractors instinctively as per their training look to treat the
cause, rather than the symptoms, which is what medications will do. It is no surprise that medications in this study ranked high for relief, however, since the headaches go away after a period of time, the perception is that this works best. Realistically, body mechanics plays a part in most tension headaches and many people found the chiropractor to be quite helpful as well.
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