In the August 21, 2013, Viewpoint, "Perspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research," authors referred to spinal manipulation as a "mind-body approach" for chronic back pain, along with acupuncture, tai chi, massage, and yoga.
Low back pain is a serious issue, not to mention an extremely costly one. Literature has shown that physical therapist use of spinal manipulation/mobilization, in addition to neuromuscular stabilization of the core muscles and patient education, is beneficial to many patients with chronic back pain. Importantly, and as you begin to point out, several existing clinical practice guidelines for back pain support the use of spinal manipulation/mobilization for acute and chronic pain. This suggests that your characterization of spinal manipulation/mobilization as a form of alternative medicine is inaccurate.
What may also be interesting to your readers is the mounting collection of studies that have demonstrated decreased costs associated with early physical therapy intervention for individuals with low back pain. In a recent study in Spine, for instance, patients who received physical therapy used fewer subsequent health care resources. A group from Intermountain Healthcare in Utah likewise reported significant savings to the health system when patients with low back pain received guideline-based physical therapy intervention.
For further information and to find a physical therapist locally, visit www.MoveForwardPT.com.
Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS
President, American Physical Therapy Association
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