DESIGN AND SETTING: Two-period crossover design in a chiropractic college research clinic.
SUBJECTS: Eighteen volunteer staff, students, and faculty of the chiropractic college who reported low-back pain within the last 6 months.
INTERVENTIONS: Flexion-distraction technique was used to perform chiropractic adjustments, and a hand-held instrument (Activator adjusting instrument) with the pressure gauge set on the 0 was used to perform sham adjustments. The treatment period was 2 weeks, with a total of 4 visits.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain and Global Well-Being Scale (GWBS).
RESULTS: Although VAS and GWBS scores improved with both treatments, a somewhat greater improvement occurred in most cases with the active treatment. Eight of 14 patients interviewed believed that the placebo had a treatment effect.
CONCLUSION: This study provided preliminary information that was useful in planning the protocol for a placebo chiropractic treatment in the randomized clinical trial for which it was designed.
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