Back to

Scientific research

These days there exists an impressive array of sound scientific evidence on the validity, safety and efficiency of chiropractic manipulation and the research papers are published in the most prestigious medical journals such as:

  • Journal of the American Medical Association
  • International Orthopaedics
  • British Medical Journal
  • Hospitals
  • Spine
  • Pain
  • Journal of Manipulative Physical Therapies, etc

The evidence has been documented not only by chiropractors, but more importantly, by medical doctors and national health authorities in countries like the U.S.A, the U.K., Canada and New Zealand.

  • In 1993, the Canadian Ministry of Health commissioned a report on chiropractic, later called the Manga report. The research group declared that “Chiropractic is the best treatment for patients with back pain since it is safe, effective, more economical and more satisfactory for the patients.” The team confirmed “No scientific article exists to show that chiropractic is dangerous for the treatment of the spinal column“, and they further recommended that “Chiropractic should be completely integrated into the Canadian National Health System.

    Manga P., Angus D., et al.,

    “The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Manage Management of Low-Back Pain.”

    The Ontario Ministry of Health Ottawa, ONT, Canada. (August 1993)

  • In 1994 the Federal Department of Health of the Government of the United States of America stated that “Chiropractic is one of the most effective methods, especially for acute low back pain” adding that “Chiropractic is the only treatment whose benefits include symptomatic relief and functional improvement.

    Bigos S., Bowyer O., et al.,

    “Acute Low-Back Problems in Adults.”

    Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR Publication No. 95-0643, Rockville, MD (December, 1994).

  • In Great Britain in 1994, the Clinical Standards Advisory Group advised timely access to manipulative therapy and the allocation of financial resources to facilitate this process. “Chiropractic is notably more efficient than physiotherapy and other hospital care for patients with chronic and resistant back pain, also providing good long term results.

    Meade T.W., Dyer S., et al.,

    “Low Back Pain of Mechanical Origin: Randomized Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment.”

    British Medical Journal Vol. 300, No. 6737 (June 2, 1990), pp 1431-1437.

  • In 1996, again in Great Britain, the Royal College of General Practitioners prepared an advisory paper for general practitioners in which they specified that the doctors should “refer patients with low back pain for expert manipulation within six weeks of the onset of symptoms“… The paper also reports that in expert hands the risks of manipulation are extremely low.A retrospective study (Woodward et al) demonstrated that Chiropractic gave symptomatic relief efficiently for 26 out of 28 patients suffering from Whiplash Syndrome.

    Khan S., Cook J., Gargan M., Bannister G.,

    “A Symptomatic Classification of Whiplash Injury and the Implications for Treatment.”

    Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999; 21 (1): 22-25

  • More recently in 2003, an evidence-based program of care was adopted by one of the largest worker’s compensation authorities in North America, the government sponsored Ontario Worker’s safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). They advised an initial course of chiropractic treatment consisting of 3 treatments a week for 4 weeks, with treatments continuing if there is objective evidence of improvement, but still some continuing pain and disability.

    See the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Ontario WSIB Program of Care for Acute Low-Back Injuries (2003)

Not just for back ache!

Modern research confirms that children with tonsillitis, asthma, infantile colic, ear infection, scoliosis, sinusitis, birth trauma and other problems obtain excellent results with chiropractic! It is recognised that chiropractic is efficient in the treatment of headache.

Vernon H.T.,

“Spinal Manipulation and Headaches of Spinal Origin.”

JMPT No. 12 (1989), pp 455-468.

Chiropractic is less dangerous than aspirin.

Langman M.J,

“Ulcer Complications and Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammaatory Drugs.”

American Journal of Medicine (February 22, 1988).

It is also well documented in the medical research that chiropractic is efficient for problems like menstrual pain, gastrointestinal pain, tiredness, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder, arm and hand pain, pregnancy problems and many others. The growing popularity of chiropractic on a world wide scale is in itself testimony to the fact that it simply works.

An important piece of research from Odense in Denmark in 1999 has shown that chiropractic treatment is more efficient than medicine (dimethicone) in the treatment of infantile colic. This normally affects some 20% of babies between the ages of 2 weeks to a year and can have dramatically damaging effects on the family. In no more than 4 treatments over a two week period the vast majority of babies (60%) had no more episodes of uncontrollable crying, and most of the rest had improved. The trial led to an enormously increased acceptance among European medical doctors for the role of chiropractic in this childhood problem.

Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J and Nilsson N.

The Short-Term effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomised Controlled Trial with a Blinded Observer.
JMPT. 1999:22(8):517-522.

In October 2005, The World Health Organisation (WHO), published its first official document on Chiropractic. Its “Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic “recommends minimum standards of education for all chiropractors and makes it clear that chiropractic is a separate profession, rather than a collection of techniques that can be learned in short courses by other health professionals. It states that medical doctors wanting to qualify in chiropractic should complete 1800 hours of study, of which 1000 hours should be clinical training.

For further information, in English only at the moment, visit the World Federation of Chiropractic website.

The sheer volume of scientific research which proves the efficiency, safety and validity of chiropractic is now truly remarkable.