Study Shows Chiropractic Better Than Muscle Relaxants for Low Back Pain

drugsA study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics”, compared the effects of chiropractic adjustments to muscle relaxants in a group of patients with sub-acute low back pain.


The Study Parameters

This study defined sub-acute low back pain as lower back pain with a duration of 2 to 12 weeks. The study noted that in the United States the incidence of low back pain is as high as 75 percent to 85 percent of the population being affected at some time in their lives. On a yearly basis, the study noted that between 15% to 20% of the adult population can expect to experience LBP in any given year.  In a post earlier this year, we had reported that according to a study performed by the World Health Organization (WHO), musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain have a greater impact on the health of the world population (death and disability) than HIV/AIDS, tropical diseases including malaria, the forces of war and nature, and all neurological conditions combined.

In the study, conducted at Life University in Georgia, 192 subjects with LBP from 2 to 6 weeks were separated into three groups. One group received Chiropractic adjustments with placebo medication. The second group received muscle relaxants with sham (fake) adjustments. The third group was a control group and received both placebo medication as well as the sham (fake) adjustments. Care was rendered to the group for a 4 week period with evaluations being done at the 2 week and 4 week marks.


Results from the Study

Results from the study were measured in terms of patient reported pain, severity, disability and depression, as well as measured flexibility and the patients self usage of over the counter acetaminophen (Tylenol). The results showed that for the two primary indicators of pain and severity, the chiropractic group did better than the other two groups. No significant differences were seen for disability, depression, flexibility, or acetaminophen usage across groups in a study of this short a period of time. All three groups showed improvement in the areas of depression, disability and drug usage.

The authors of the study did note that a longer study could have yielded more differences in recovery. However, in the area of pain, a primary patient concern in sub-acute low back pain cases, the group that received the chiropractic adjustments did the best.  Their comments were:

“Statistically, the chiropractic group responded significantly better than the control group with respect to a decrease in pain scores.”

This study clearly demonstrates the clear advantage of pursuing chiropractic as the first course of treatment for low back pain, over the pharmaceutical approach such as muscle relaxants.  Especially enlightening is WebMD’s note on side effects for muscle relaxants: Possible addiction or dependence, Urinary retention, Drowsiness or dizziness.


Don’t Be a Back Pain Statistic

Part of correcting the problem of pain is knowing where to go for help.

As experienced chiropractors in Augusta GAGeorgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized treatments tailored to each and every back pain sufferer.  With our personalized treatments, we have been able to help many Augusta GA chiropractic patients suffering from back pain as well as other musculoskeletal conditions such as extremity pain (elbow pain, knee pain, etc), arthritis, and fibromyalgia.  If you would like to get started today on treating the root cause of your pain, call our friendly office at (706) 814-5053 or schedule your appointment online.


The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.

 Augusta GA Chiropractors Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized chiropractic care to Augusta GA, Martinez GA, and Evans GA. Visit our main website at for a chiropractor in Augusta GA and a chiropractor in Evans GA that specializes in customized treatments.

You can schedule your appointment by calling our friendly staff at (706) 814-5053 or use our online form.