Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the diagnoses and chiropractic services performed by doctors of chiropractic operating within 3 military treatment facilities for patients with low back pain (LBP).
Methods: This was a descriptive secondary analysis of a pragmatic clinical trial comparing usual medical care (UMC) plus chiropractic care to UMC alone for U.S. active-duty military personnel with LBP. Participants who were allocated to receive UMC plus 6 weeks of chiropractic care and who attended at least 1 chiropractic visit (n = 350; 1547 unique visits) were included in this analysis. International Classification of Diseases and Current Procedural Terminology codes were transcribed from chiropractic treatment paper forms. The number of participants receiving each diagnosis and service and the number of each service on unique visits was tabulated. Low back pain and co-occurring diagnoses were grouped into neuropathic, nociceptive, bone and/or joint, general pain, and nonallopathic lesions categories. Services were categorized as evaluation, active interventions, and passive interventions.
Results: The most reported pain diagnoses were lumbalgia (66.1%) and thoracic pain (6.6%). Most reported neuropathic pain diagnoses were sciatica (4.9%) and lumbosacral neuritis or radiculitis (2.9%). For the nociceptive pain, low back sprain and/or strain (15.8%) and lumbar facet syndrome (9.2%) were most common. Most reported diagnoses in the bone and/or joint category were intervertebral disc degeneration (8.6%) and spondylosis (6.0%). Tobacco use disorder (5.7%) was the most common in the other category. Chiropractic care was compromised of passive interventions (94%), with spinal manipulative therapy being the most common, active interventions (77%), with therapeutic exercise being most common, and a combination of passive and active interventions (72%).
Conclusion: For the sample in this study, doctors of chiropractic within 3 military treatment facilities diagnosed, managed, and provided clinical evaluations for a range of LBP conditions. Although spinal manipulation was the most commonly used modality, chiropractic care included a multimodal approach, comprising of both active and passive interventions a majority of the time.
Author keywords: Chiropractic; Military Personnel; Current Procedural Terminology; International Classification of Diseases; Manipulation, Spinal
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