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“Combined chiropractic interventions slightly improved pain and disability in the short-term and pain in the medium-term for acute and subacute LBP. However, there is currently no evidence that supports or refutes that these interventions provide a clinically meaningful difference for pain or disability in people with LBP when compared to other interventions. Future research is very likely to change the estimate of effect and our confidence in the results.” Walker BF, French SD, Grant W, Green S., Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2010; 4: CD 005427
Comment on the above review from Professor Edzard Ernst: “The hallmark treatment of chiropractors is spinal manipulation. If critical evaluations of spinal manipulation fail to show what chiropractors had hoped for, defendants may argue that chiropractic typically combines a wide range of modalities in practice, including manipulation, mobilisation, massage, exercise and heat. Thus, it might not be fair to judge the value of chiropractic solely by the effectiveness of spinal manipulation. This Cochrane review is an attempt to overcome this pitfall. Its results show that, for the most prevalent indication for chiropractic treatment (i.e. LBP), very few studies are available. Those that do exist are often seriously flawed. For acute and subacute LBP, chiropractic seems to be as good or marginally better than conventional treatments. However, I recommend taking this result with a pinch of salt; what is still required is independent replication through high-quality studies, which also account for the risks and costs associated with chiropractic. For chronic LBP, chiropractic does not seem to be any better than conventional treatments. All in all, this review serves as a poignant reminder that chiropractic may not be as soundly based on evidence as it is often made out to be.” [Subscription to Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies required.]