- "There was a clear difference between the treatment groups: the subjects [receiving] spinal manipulation showed a faster and quantitatively more distinct reduction in the Roland Morris Disability scores" (compared to subjects receiving diclofenac therapy).
- "Subjects [also] noticed a faster and quantitatively more distinct reduction in [their] subjective estimation of pain after manipulation. ... A similar observation was made when comparing the somatic part of the SF-12 inventory ... indicating that the subjects experienced better quality of life after the spinal manipulation compared to diclofenac."
- "The rescue medication was calculated both for the mean cumulative dose (numbers of 500 mg paracetamol tablets) and for the number of days on which rescue medication was taken. ... In the diclofenac arm, the patients on average took almost 3 times as many tablets and the number of days [taking the tablets] was almost twice as high" compared to patients in the manipulation arm. While the authors note that these results were not significant due to large between-individual variations (meaning a few patients could have taken many tablets, throwing off the overall totals), it still suggests that value of spinal manipulation vs. drug therapy (because even if both patient groups had taken the same amount of rescue medication for the same number of days, it wouldn't discount the fact that patients in the manipulation group showed significant improvement on outcome variables compared to patients in the diclofenac group).
STUDY DESIGN: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel trial with 3 arms.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate in acute nonspecific low back pain (LBP) the effectiveness of spinal high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) manipulation compared with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and with placebo.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: LBP is an important economical factor in all industrialized countries. Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of spinal manipulation in comparison to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or placebo regarding satisfaction and function of the patient, off-work time, and rescue medication.
METHODS: A total of 101 patients with acute LBP (for <48 hr) were recruited from 5 outpatient practices, exclusion criteria were numerous and strict. The subjects were randomized to 3 groups:
(1) spinal manipulation and placebo-diclofenac;
(2) sham manipulation and diclofenac;
(3) sham manipulation and placebo-diclofenac. Outcomes registered by a second and blinded investigator included self-rated physical disability, function (SF-12), off-work time, and rescue medication between baseline and 12 weeks after randomization.
RESULTS: Thirty-seven subjects received spinal manipulation, 38 diclofenac, and 25 no active treatment. The placebo group with a high number of dropouts for unsustainable pain was closed praecox. Comparing the 2 active arms with the placebo group the intervention groups were significantly superior to the control group. Ninety subjects were analyzed in the collective intention to treat. Comparing the 2 intervention groups, the manipulation group was significantly better than the diclofenac group (Mann-Whitney test: P = 0.0134). No adverse effects or harm was registered.
CONCLUSION: In a subgroup of patients with acute nonspecific LBP, spinal manipulation was significantly better than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and clinically superior to placebo.
Spine 2013 (Apr 1); 38 (7): 540–548
Some information obtained from www.chiro.org