METHODS: Information obtained through questionnaires by chiropractors and patients on return visit within 2 weeks of previous treatment from chiropractic practices in Canada, United States, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. In all, 385 chiropractors collected valid data on 5607 patients. Spinal manipulation with or without additional therapy was the intervention provided by chiropractors. Outcome measures included self-reported improved nonmusculoskeletal reactions (allergy, asthma, breathing, circulation, digestion, hearing, heart function, ringing in the ears, sinus problems, urination, and others).
RESULTS: The results from the previous study were largely reproduced. Positive reactions were reported by 2% to 10% of all patients and by 3% to 27% of those who reported to have such problems. Most common were improved breathing (27%), digestion (26%), and circulation (21%). Some variables were identified that somewhat influenced the outcome: patients informed that such reactions may occur (odds ratio [OR] 1.5), treatment to the upper cervical spine (OR 1.4), treatment to lower thoracic spine (OR 1.3), and female sex (OR 1.3). However, these had a very small "explanatory" value (pseudo R2 3%).
CONCLUSION: A minority of patients with self-reported nonmusculoskeletal symptoms report definite improvement after chiropractic care, and very few report definite worsening. Future studies should use stringent criteria to investigate a possible treatment effect and concentrate on specific diagnostic subgroups such as digestive problems and tinnitus.
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