Why should I visit a doctor of chiropractic when I'm not experiencing pain or other symptoms? That's the question many patients still ask themselves, despite the growing body of research supporting the value of chiropractic maintenance care. Here's why: The latest study on maintenance care for low back health suggests receiving chiropractic care periodically dramatically reduces the number of day lower back pain (LBP) patients experience "bothersome" pain over the course of a year.

Published in the multi-disciplinary open-access journal PLOS One, the investigator-blinded, two-arm, randomized, controlled trial included 328 consecutive patients ages 18-65 with non-specific low back pain who experienced a favorable response to chiropractic care during their initial course of treatment. Patients were recruited from 40 chiropractic clinics between 2012-2016. Patients were then randomly allocated to one of two groups for one year: a maintenance care group that received periodic chiropractic care or a control group that returned to their chiropractor only when LBP symptoms were present.

Every week, researchers assessed subjects' low back pain with a single question: "On how many days during the past week were you bothered by your lower back (i.e., it affected your daily activities or routines)?" During the 12-month tracking period, members of the maintenance care (MC) group made an average of 6.7 visits to the chiropractor, compared with 4.8 visits by members of the control group. Those additional visits correlated with 12.8 fewer days of bothersome low back pain, on average, for MC group members compared to control group members.

How important is 12.8 fewer days of bothersome LBP a year? For anyone who has experienced LBP, particularly in chronic/recurring fashion, we like to think it's well-worth a few "extra" visits to the chiropractor every year.

As mentioned, this also isn't the first study to investigate maintenance care for low back pain. For example, in 2011 Spin published a study titled, "Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic, Non-Specific Low Back Pain Relief Result in Better Long-Term Outcome?" Patients suffering from chronic LBP (six months or longer) received one month (12 visits) of spinal manipulative therapy and then were randomized to receive either maintenance SMT visits every two weeks for nine months or the initial 12 visits only.

After 10 months, only the group receiving maintenance care reported significant improvement, while pain and disability scores had returned "near to their pretreatment level" in the group receiving one month only of spinal manipulative therapy.

The results are in, and Patrick Chiropractic is here to help you find relief from low back pain.  Please call our office today at 919-790-2288 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dale Patrick. Lower back pain doesn't have to get the best of you!

Article from Dynamic Chiropractor editorial staff
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