Efficacy of Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Low Back Pain of Less Than Three Months' Duration

Manuela L. Ferreira*, Paulo H. Ferreira, Jane Latimer, Robert Herbert, Christopher G. Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To review the efficacy of spinal manipulation for low back pain of less than 3 months duration. Data Sources: Randomized clinical trials on spinal manipulative therapy for low back pain were identified by searching EMBASE, CINAHL, MEDLINE, and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro). Study Selection: Outcome measures of interest were pain, return to work, adverse events, disability, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with therapy. Data Extraction: Methodological assessment of the trials was performed using the PEDro scale. Trials were grouped according to the type of intervention, outcome measures, and follow-up time. Where there were multiple studies with sufficient homogeneity of interventions, subjects, and outcomes, the results were analyzed in a meta-analysis using a random effects model. Data synthesis: Thirty-four papers (27 trials) met the inclusion criteria. Three small studies showed spinal manipulative therapy produces better outcomes than placebo therapy or no treatment for nonspecific low back pain of less than 3 months duration. The effects are, however, small. The findings of individual studies suggest that spinal manipulative therapy also seems to be more effective than massage and short wave therapy. It is not clear if spinal manipulative therapy is more effective than exercise, usual physiotherapy, or medical care in the first 4 weeks of treatment. Conclusions: Spinal manipulative therapy produces slightly better outcomes than placebo therapy, no treatment, massage, and short wave therapy for nonspecific low back pain of less than 3 months duration. Spinal manipulative therapy, exercise, usual physiotherapy, and medical care appear to produce similar outcomes in the first 4 weeks of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
Volume26
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Low Back Pain
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Spinal Manipulutive Therapy

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