Several recent studies document that chiropractic care is beneficial for helping to prevent reoccurrence of lower back problems while also helping to sustain long term correction. It is interesting to note that these studies were medical studies published in medical journals.
The most recent article comes from the April, 2011, issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This study followed 894 workers' compensation cases for a period of one year to see the response to chiropractic care as compared to other forms of care. The stated objective of this first study was "To compare occurrence of repeated disability episodes across types of health care providers who treat claimants with new episodes of work-related low back pain (LBP)."
The results showed that when compared to physical therapists and MDs, the group of patients that went to chiropractors had the lowest rate of disability recurrence over the course of the year. This showed that when injured workers continued with chiropractic care, their rate of re-injury or disability in the year after the original accident was less than those workers under other forms of care.
Another study published in the journal Spine on January 17, 2011, showed that spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) for chronic, non-specific, low back pain resulted in better long-term outcomes. It should be noted that some medical studies refer to adjustments as "spinal manipulation therapy" or SMT.
In this study, 60 patients with chronic, nonspecific lower back pain for at least 6 months were separated into three different groups. One group got 12 visits of a sham SMT over a one-month period. The second group received 12 visits consisting of SMT over a one-month period, but no additional treatments for the subsequent nine months. The third group got 12 SMTs over a one-month period, along with "maintenance spinal manipulation" every two weeks for the following nine months.
The results of this study showed that the patients in the second and third groups, who received some form of what the study authors called "SMT", experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores at the end of 1 month, than did the first group who only got sham care. Additionally, the third group that continued to receive care for 9 additional months showed more improvement in pain and disability scores 10 months later.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "SMT is effective for the treatment of chronic non-specific LBP. To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance spinal manipulations after the initial intensive manipulative therapy."