Underwhelming: spinal adjustment and massage for back pain, neck pain
One article on PainSci cites Bronfort 2010: Does Spinal Manipulation Work?
PainSci notes on Bronfort 2010:
This review of manual therapies focusses on spinal manipulative therapy and massage therapy for low back and neck pain, with predictably mixed results ranging from inconclusive to underwhelming to suspiciously positive. Both are judged “effective” for some conditions but not impressively so, and mostly no different from other therapies that are notoriously unimpressive. For instance, the authors write that SMT is effective but “similar in effect to other commonly used efficacious therapies such as usual care, exercise, or back school.” How nice for SMT that it can hold its own against “back school.”
The “effective” conclusions about SMT for various conditions seems strange to me, because the actual data is consistent with the much more negative conclusions of other major reviews, most Rubinstein et al. I suspect these authors are keen to say nice things about SMT.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
The purpose of this report is to provide a succinct but comprehensive summary of the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual treatment for the management of a variety of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions.
- “Spinal manipulative therapy for acute low-back pain,” Rubinstein et al, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2012.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations? Mirza 2012 J Neurosci.