Does chiropractic care work for low-back pain?

Share this article:


New study finds the addition of chiropractic care to usual medical care provides greater relief for low-back pain than usual medical care alone

(DAVENPORT, Iowa) – A new study led by investigators at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, in conjunction with the RAND Corporation and the Samueli Institute, found that patients suffering from low-back pain who received chiropractic care in addition to usual medical care had better short-term improvements in low-back pain intensity and pain-related disability when compared to those who received usual medical care alone.

Results of this groundbreaking research were released today in the inaugural edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association’s online JAMA Network Open. The study – the largest randomized clinical trial in chiropractic research in the U.S. to-date – took place from September 2012 to February 2016 and involved 750 active-duty U.S. military personnel at three sites across the country. Low-back pain is the leading cause of physical disability worldwide. The prevalence of low-back pain among U.S. adults is estimated at 20 percent, with 50 to 80 percent of people reporting a significant episode at some point in their life. Low-back pain is also one of the most common causes of disability in U.S. military personnel.

“This patient-centered, multi-site, pragmatic clinical trial provides the strongest evidence to-date that chiropractic care is safe, effective and can be integrated into multidisciplinary health-care settings,” said Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., lead author of the study. “These findings are critical as the United States health-care system looks for ways to implement existing national guidelines from groups such as the American College of Physicians and the Joint Commission that recommend non-drug treatments, such as spinal manipulative therapy, as the first line of treatment for low-back pain.

Doctors of chiropractic provide conservative care focused on diagnosis, treatment and co-management, or referral for musculoskeletal conditions, including low-back pain. The primary therapeutic procedure for doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic adjustment).Chiropractic use is common. It’s estimated that 8 to 14 percent of U.S. adults seek chiropractic care annually. Chiropractic care is available at 66 U.S. military health-care facilities worldwide.The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), headquartered on Palmer College of Chiropractic’s main campus in Davenport, Iowa, is the most highly funded chiropractic research center in the U.S. Within the past 10 years, the PCCR has been awarded grants from the NIH, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Department of Defense, in addition to private-foundation grants.


Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., lead author;
James O’Connor, APR, Marketing & Communication, Palmer College of Chiropractic;

(563) 884-5662;;

Note to editors/news directors: a PDF of key research findings is online.

Parker University is proud to share the following press release for the largest chiropractic study conducted within the military, which had three current Parker personnel involved:
Dr. William Morgan, President was the WRNMMC site doctor of chiropractic
Dr. Robert Rosenbaum, Board Member was the WRNMMC site principal investigator
Dr. Katherine Pohlman, Interim Research Director is a co-author on the manuscript and was Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research’s lead project manager for the entire study