Methods: This retrospective case series study evaluated data on 100 patients referred for chiropractic care of work-related spinal injuries involving workers' compensation claims. Deidentified data included age, sex, visual analog scale scores for pain, pre- and posttreatment Functional Rating Index (FRI) scores, and subjective response to chiropractic care. Based on date of injury to first chiropractic treatment, patients were subdivided as acute, subacute, or chronic injured workers. Cases were analyzed for differences in pretreatment FRI scores, posttreatment FRI scores, FRI change scores (posttreatment FRI minus pretreatment FRI score), and subjective percentage improvement using a 1-way analysis of variance. Treatment included manual therapy techniques and exercise.
Results: Injured workers with either an acute or subacute injury had significantly lower posttreatment FRI scores compared with individuals with a chronic injury. The FRI change scores were significantly greater in the acute group compared with either the subacute or chronic injured workers. Workers in all categories showed improved posttreatment tolerance for work-related activities and significantly lower posttreatment subjective pain scores.
Conclusions: The study identified positive effects of chiropractic management included in integrative care when treating work-related neck or back pain. Improvement in both functional scores and subjective response was noted in all 3 time-based phases of patient status (acute, subacute, and chronic).
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