A study released by the British, Medical Research Council (MRC) showed that Chiropractic and exercise was effective for patients suffering from lower back pain. The British study used the term spinal manipulation, (more correctly termed adjustments), which they noted is the primary form of care performed by Doctors of Chiropractic. The study, published in the November 19, 2004 edition of the British Medical Journal, stated that when combined with an exercise program, these two offer an effective treatment for those suffering from back pain.
The trial study recruited more than 1,300 patients from across the UK, whose back pain had not improved after receiving what they termed the best care in general medical practice. These patients were then compared and assessed to judge the effectiveness of three different types of care.
The three types of care were:
- A class-based physical exercise program.
- Spinal manipulation
- A combined package of spinal manipulation followed by a program of exercise
The results showed that to varying degrees all patients in the treatment groups reported improved back function and reduced pain over time. They noted that patients assigned to exercise classes in addition to general practice care reported a small benefit at three months but not at one year. Those assigned to spinal manipulation in addition to general practice care reported a small to moderate benefit at three months and a small, on average, benefit at one year. However, the greatest improvement was found in the patients assigned to combined manipulation and exercise in addition to general practice care.