Study finds care by chiropractors 'appropriate' half the time

July 13, 1998|By San Francisco Examiner

A new study could revive an old debate over whether chiropractic treatment for lower back pain does any good.

In the study of 1,310 patients by the Rand Corp., 29 percent of initial chiropractic treatments for lower back pain were found to be inappropriate, 46 percent were ruled appropriate and 25 percent were of uncertain value.

"Clearly, a 29 percent inappropriateness rate is too high and should be decreased," said study author Dr. Paul G. Shekelle of the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The total number of inappropriate treatments is probably higher, he said, because the study examined only initial visits to a chiropractor.

At the same time, he said, the 46 percent appropriateness rate means that "everybody needs to stop treating chiropractors as if they are quacks," adding that under certain circumstances, he would refer a patient, even himself, to a chiropractor.

Shekelle's study appears in the prestigious medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Pub Date: 7/13/98

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