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There was a low recurrence rate (using a stringent definition of recurrence) in a large population of patients with low back pain (LBP) up to 1 year after chiropractic care. However, the vast majority of patients were not pain free after 1 year. This is the conclusion of a recent observational study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
Patients in the study were located in Switzerland. Seven hundred and twenty-two patients with LBP (375 male) completed the Numeric Rating Scale for pain (NRS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) before chiropractic treatment and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months later (ODI up to 3 months). Patients were then categorized based on pain rating scores into “fast recovery,” “slow recovery,” “recurrent,” “chronic,” and “others.”
Based on these pain ratings, 13.4% of the patients were categorized as recurrent. The recurrent pattern significantly differed from fast recovery in duration of complaint. The duration of complaint before treatment was the main predictor for recurrence. Specifically, a subacute duration, defined in the present study as longer than 14 days, significantly increased the odds for an unfavorable course of LBP, which is of clinical relevance.
Reference: Knecht C, Humphreys BK, Wirth B. An Observational Study on Recurrences of Low Back Pain During the First 12 Months After Chiropractic Treatment. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2017 Jul – Aug;40(6):427-433.