METHODS: All patients who presented to one of two community health center-based chiropractic clinics with MSK complaints between August 2004 and December 2005 were recruited to participate in this study. Outcomes were assessed by a general health measure (Short Form-12), a pain scale (VAS), and site-specific disability indexes (Roland-Morris Questionnaire and Neck Disability Index), which were administered before and after a 12-week treatment period.
RESULTS: Three hundred twenty-four patients with MSK conditions were recruited into the study, and 259 (80.0%) of them were followed to the study's conclusion. Clinically important and statistically significant positive changes were observed for all outcomes (Short Form-12: physical composite score mean change = 4.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.8-6.0; VAS: current pain mean change = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.9-2.6; Neck Disability Index: mean change = 6.8, 95% CI = 5.4-8.1; Roland-Morris Questionnaire: mean change = 4.3, 95% CI = 3.6-5.1). No adverse events were reported.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients of low socioeconomic status face barriers to accessing chiropractic services. This study suggests that chiropractic care reduces pain and disability as well as improves general health status in patients with MSK conditions. Further studies using a more robust methodology are needed to investigate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of introducing chiropractic care into publicly funded health care facilities.First author: M.J. Garner
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