It’s sometimes difficult to separate fact from opinion. Millions of people seek relief from back pain and visit chiropractors each year, and yet some people aren’t convinced these medical professionals are a good option.

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that chiropractic treatment for back pain is actually a great help. Here’s what you need to know about this study.

Focused on the Military

We depend on this large group to defend our country – yet it reflects our population at large in that lower back pain is one of the leading causes of disability among U.S. military personnel. The study found that military personnel who sought out chiropractic care combined with traditional medical care had better pain relief outcomes than those who pursued only traditional medical care.

Traditional medical care for back pain often includes medications such as opioids, and even invasive surgery. Chiropractic treatment for back pain involves forms of spinal manipulation.

What Researchers Discovered

The study was undertaken between 2012 and 2016. It evaluated 750 active-duty U.S. military service members who sought out both chiropractic and traditional medical care for back pain. These patients were put into two groups:

  • One group received both traditional and chiropractic medical care
  • One group received only traditional medical care

After a six-week period, the study found that those who received both types of care reported a moderately greater improvement in their pain and disability compared to those who received just traditional medical care.

When the results of the study were published, it included an editorial statement from the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, which says the organization believes this information can help medical experts better treat military personnel. “This trial represents an important contribution to our minimal knowledge of the potential of chiropractic care to improve outcomes of care in military populations,” concludes the organization.

The Case for Chiropractic Care

Neck and back pain is common among adults. A recent Gallup study found that 25% of us sought help from a medical professional because of back or neck pain in the past year. That same study also concluded that 65% of us will seek out help with neck or back pain at some point in our lives.

Another study shows that more of us are turning to chiropractors for help. A 2016 study shows that about 14% of us have seen a chiropractor in the last year. Of those with significant neck or back pain, 33% said chiropractic care was safest treatment choice. That’s compared to just 12% who said that pain medications are safer (physical therapy was perceived as safest), according to Gallup data.

Additionally, 29% of us believe chiropractic care is more effective than pain medication for those with neck or back pain.

Learn more about how neck or back pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s not aligned.