Clinical features: A 71-year-old female with low back pain sought chiropractic care. Her initial score on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was 8.
Intervention and outcome: The patient was treated with flexion-distraction chiropractic technique, moist hot packs, and interferential current to the lumbar spine a total of 11 times over 11 weeks. The BDI was administered at baseline and again three times during care. Her scores went from 8 (indicated moderate depression) to 4 (indicating no or minimal depression) to 0 during her care.
Conclusion: While non-musculoskeletal complaints as a chief complaint make up a small percentage of chiropractic practice, chiropractors see large numbers of patients with low back pain and depression. There is scant literature about the effect of chiropractic care as a treatment for depression. There are reports of other complementary and alternative medicine CAM treatments for patients with depression as well as reports of depression screening and awareness in chiropractic practice. This patient's depression improved while under chiropractic care for her low back pain. This may have been due to a variety of factors, such as natural progression, therapeutic effect of touch, patient–doctor interaction, or improvement secondary to the improvement of her back pain.
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