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Manipulation for Low Back Pain

Manipulation is as effective as everything else that a medical doctor has to offer to treat low-back pain, yet many doctors criticize osteopaths and chiropractors for using manipulation.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine (November 4, 1999) showed that spinal manipulation is at least as effective in controlling low-back pain as the standard medical treatments of ultrasound, antiinflammatory drugs, anti-pain drugs, diathermy heat treatments, hot or cold packs, use of a corset or transcutaneous nerve stimulation. I have always recommended deep massage and manipulation for low back pain, for pain relief, not as a cure. When I had a persistant back problem, I chose deep massage of my back and was able to return to riding my bike in just six weeks.

Many medical doctors recommend cortisone injections when the evidence is that the most they can offer is temporary pain relief. It is not a cure. Surgery is specific for a limited number of cases of low-back pain and has a high failure rate. The NEJM article reinforced my belief that deep massage and manipulation can help to relieve some cases of severe low-back pain.

Anyone with presistent low back pain should check with his or her doctor to rule out a serious cause.
More on massage therapy
More on low back pain

Checked 10/12/18

August 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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