Background: Chronic low back pain is the most frequently reported musculoskeletal condition in the elderly, affecting up to 50% of this age cohort. It is a leading falls related comorbidity and robust predictor of morbidity among the elderly.
Methods: This analysis of a randomized controlled trial evaluated the use of either chiropractic care (CC) or physical therapy (PT) as a treatment for geriatric patients with balance problems and with or without chronic low back pain. Of the one hundred and eighteen participants enrolled, sixty one participants (51.7%) were randomized into the CC group and fifty seven participants (48.3%) into the PT group. A pain questionnaire was administered at baseline, after 6 weeks of treatment, and again at week 12. University ethics committee approval was obtained and written informed consent was given.
Results: There was statistically significant reductions in pain for this intent-to-treat design mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA) (p < 0.05) and Bonferroni correction (p < 0.025; 95% CI). The CC and PT groups had similar reductions at week 6 for Box 21 current pain scores (52.7%, 50.9%); Box 21 least pain scores (40.4%, 45.4%); Box 21 worst pain scores (42.1%, 37.2%); Box 21 usual pain scores (41.1%, 46.7%); and Box 21 number of days per week in pain scores (24.3%, 18.9%). There were no significant between group effects.
Conclusion: There were statistically and clinically significant improvements in pain outcome measures in both the chiropractic care and physical therapy treatment groups at week six and at week twelve.
Trial registration: NCT02031562
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