Objective: To describe a patient who received chiropractic adjustments after habitually self-manipulating his lumbar spine, and to compare the efficacy of the two treatments in the available literature.
Clinical Features: A 17-year-old male patient sought care for chronic low back pain. One year prior, he suffered a weight-lifting injury which was when he began self-manipulating. The pain worsened throughout the year, up until pursuing chiropractic care.
Interventions and Outcomes: Initial history and examination revealed global hypermobility of the lumbar spine but with areas of segmental hypomobility. Pain medications and injections proved ineffective. Specific chiropractic care 3 times weekly for 3 months provided relief of low back pain.
Conclusions: This case suggests that specific high-velocity low-amplitude chiropractic adjustments are safer and more effective at treating low back pain than self-manipulating, and that non-specific self-manipulation can exacerbate current problems in patients.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, adjustment, self-manipulation, spinal instability, cavitation, hypermobility, audible pop, ligament laxity, ligament strain, subluxation
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