Design: Prospective case series.
Setting: RMIT University chiropractic teaching clinics.
Patients: Sixty-nine (69) patients of the RMIT chiropractic clinic diagnosed with either uncomplicated biomechanical neck pain (n=34) or low back pain (n=35).
Intervention: Manual or instrument HVLA spinal adjustments plus soft tissue therapy as indicated.
Main Outcome Measure: RAND-36 version 1.0 of the Medical Outcomes Trust short form 36 (SF-36) health questionnaire. Assessment was done pre-treatment and following an average of 7 treatments.
Results: A case series of 69 patients with uncomplicated low back pain or neck pain found the patients to have a lower health status as measured by the RAND-36 v1 than comparable population norms prior to treatment. All scores in the RAND-36 improved following standard chiropractic treatment. A similar pattern was found for low back patients and neck pain patients separately. There were no significant differences between males or females or age groups. There were some significant treatment differential effects between acute compared with chronic cases.
Conclusion: For the study sample, the presence of uncomplicated low back pain or neck pain was associated with a lowering of general health status as measured by the RAND-36 questionnaire, compared with the normal population. Chiropractic treatment for these patients would appear to lead to an increase in general health status for both low back and neck pain patients, however as there were no controls, the results cannot be directly related to the treatment regime. A randomised clinical trial is recommended to clarify the results.
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