A medical research article from the British Journal of Sports Medicine published in April 2021 shows that manual therapy is among the first treatments to be recommended for patients with non-specific back pain. According to this article, manual therapies include manipulations (adjustments), mobilizations, and soft tissue therapies and exercises should be recommended for patients with acute or sub-acute non-specific low back pain.
This newest article is a systematic review of medical scientific literature. A systematic review is when researchers gather studies done over a period of time, trying to find trends in the overall research at the current time. This current study selected 46 different peer-reviewed research articles from over 6000 that met the criteria. Systematic reviews are considered the highest level of research since they draw information from multiple individual trials.
A summary of the article shows that patients with non-specific low back pain are best treated with manual therapies, exercises and heat for acute to subacute low back pain initially. The review also recommends that you use these forms of treatments over pharmaceuticals initially because they have better pain and disability outcomes. Also, another interesting finding that was mentioned in the article was that there were no adverse effects of the non-pharmacological therapies (exercise, manual therapies, and heat). They did find mild to moderate side effects of use of NSAIDs, opioids, muscles relaxers and other pharmacological treatments.
Chiropractors use manual therapies and exercises to treat low back pain, and should be considered initially if you are experiencing low back pain. New research like this helps us to keep providing evidence-based treatments for our patients.
Gianola S, Bargeri S, Del Castillo G, et al. Effectiveness of treatments for acute and subacute mechanical non-specific low back pain: a systematic review with network meta-analysis.British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 13 April 2021. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2020-103596