The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Recommendation for Treating Low Back Pain

If you have not heard or read the case study yet, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published an article comparing medical and chiropractic treatment of acute low back pain in men and women between 18 and 35 years of age. In the article titled, “Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: Results of a Pragmatic Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Study” by Goertz, et al., the study compared treating low back pain with standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT).

Without diving into all of the details, the study concluded that “73% percent of participants in the standard medical care plus chiropractic manipulative therapy group rated their global improvement as pain completely gone, much better, or moderately better, compared with 17% in the SMC group” (Goertz, et al.).

Now, what does this mean for you? If you are sick of nagging low back pain that you cannot seem to shake off, then chiropractic care may be the answer for you. Standard medical care for low back pain typically involves the use of pharmaceutical and prescription medication. These medications can be very effective, but what are they exactly fixing? The prescribed medications are typically muscle relaxants/relaxers that help decrease muscle spasms.

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The problem is that the muscle spasms are commonly a secondary condition to an underlying, more sinister condition. There are many stressors we face on a daily basis, including physical, chemical, and emotional stressors, that may lead to common low back pain. When the bones in the low back, or the lumbar vertebrae, become misaligned due to these various stressors, pressure is placed on the nerves causing these secondary conditions, or “symptoms” as you may commonly refer to them. By relaxing the muscles in the area, we trick our brain into thinking the issue is resolved, but we have actually only masked the symptoms. The pressure has not been removed from the nerves between the misaligned spinal bones, or the vertebrae.

This is where chiropractic care comes into play. Chiropractic adjustments focus on removing this pressure on the nerves by gently adjusting the vertebrae back into proper alignment. The adjustments are safe, effective, and non-invasive. Therefore, JAMA is suggesting that treating the low back pain with both chiropractic care and standard medical care is the best course of action. By using both modalities together, not only are you treating the secondary conditions with medical care, but you are correcting the underlying cause of pain with chiropractic care.


Every medical professional and treatment has an appropriate time and place. We at Excel Chiropractic hope you now have a better idea of how to manage the low back pain you are experiencing and which steps to take first in correcting the true cause of your pain. Please contact us for further information or to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

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