Accessibility View Close toolbar

3933 Perkiomen Avenue, Suite 101

Reading, PA 19606 US

610-779-4588

Open mobile navigation

Low Back Pain: Chiropractic vs. Muscle Relaxants

Chiropractic outperforms muscle relaxants by 427%

Low back pain is one of the most common maladies among the general population and the incidence of occurrence was reported by Ghaffari, Alipour, Farshad, Yensen, and Vingard (2006) to be between 15% and 45% yearly. Hoiris et al. (2004) reported it to be between 75% and 85% over an adult lifetime in the United States. Chou (2010) writes that, "Back pain is also the fifth most common reason for office visits in the US, and the second most common symptomatic reason..." (p. 388). Historically and based upon this authors 3+ decades of treating low back pain with treatment options that range from heating pads, ice packs, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, surgery, acupuncture and beyond, the most important questions are, "What works? What's proven and what has the best results with the least side effects allowing the patient to regain a normal lifestyle as quickly as possible."

Muscle relaxers are a common drug that has been prescribed by medical doctors for years for nonspecific low back pain. According to Chou (2010), "The term "skeletal muscle relaxants' refers to a diverse collection of pharmacologically unrelated medications, grouped together because they are approved by regulatory agencies for treatment of spasticity or for musculoskeletal Conditions Such as tension headache or back pain." They are drugs that has been long studied and the effects and side effects have been well documented. Van Tudlar, Touray, Furlan, Solway, and Bouter (2003) concluded that, "Muscle relaxants are effective in the management of nonspecific low back pain, but the adverse effects require that they be used with caution"(p. 1978).

Chou (2010) also stated that, "Skeletal muscle relaxants are an option for acute nonspecific low back pain, although not recommended as first-line therapy because of a high prevalence of adverse effects" (p.397). He reported that muscle relaxants had a moderate success rate defined by a 1-2 decrease in pain scales rated out of 10. Simply put, if a patient had a pain scale of 9, one could expect the muscle relaxers prescribed to bring the painto an 8 or 7 at best and include all of the side effects. According to Drugs.com, side effects of muscle relaxants include:

More common

Blurred or double vision or any change in vision; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness

Less common

Fainting; fast heartbeat; fever; hive-like swellings (large) on face, eyelids, mouth, lips, and/or tongue; mental depression; shortness of breath, troubled breathing, tightness in chest, and/or wheezing, skin rash, hives, itching, or redness; slow heartbeat (methocarbamol injection only); stinging or burning of eyes; stuffy nose and red or bloodshot eyes

Less common or rare

Abdominal or stomach Cramps or pain; clumsiness or unsteadiness; confusion; constipation; diarrhea; excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability; flushing or redness of face; headache; heartburn; hiccups; muscle weakness; nausea or vomiting; pain or peeling of skin at place of injection (methocarbamol only); trembling; trouble in sleeping; uncontrolled movements of eyes (methocarbamol injection only)

Rare

Blood in urine; bloody or black, tarry stools; convulsions (seizures) (methocarbamol injection only); Cough or hoarseness; fast or irregular breathing; lower back or side pain; muscle cramps or pain (not present before treatment or more painful than before treatment); painful or difficulturination; pain, tenderness, heat, redness, or Swelling over a blood vessel (vein) in arm or leg (methocarbamol injection only); pinpoint red spots on skin; puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes; sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth; Sore throat and fever with or without chills; swollen and/or painful glands; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusualtiredness or weakness; vomiting of blood or material that looks like Coffee grounds; yellow eyes or skin (http://www.drugs.com/cons/skeletal-musclerelaxants.html).

When comparing chiropractic spinal adjustments to muscle relaxants for low back pain, it first must be clarified that we are not discussing physical therapy or osteopathic manipulation. While different Specialists render tremendous benefits to patients specific to various diagnoses, this research review is limited to a chiropractic spinal adjustment.

Wilkey, Gregory, Byfield, & McCarthy (2008) studied randomized clinical trials comparing chiropractic care to medical care in a pain clinic. "The treatment regimens employed by the pain clinic in this study Consisted of standard pharmaceutical therapy (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and gabapentin), facet joint injection, and soft-tissue injection. Transcutaneous electrical nervestimulation (TENS) machines were also employed. These modalities were used in isolation or in combination with any of the other treatments. Chiropractic group subjects followed an equally unrestricted and normal clinical treatment regimens for the treatment of chronic low back pain) were followed. All techniques that were employed are recognized within the chiropractic profession as methods used for the treatment of low back pain). Many of the methods used are common to other manual therapy professions" (p. 466-467).

After 8 weeks of treatment, the 95% confidence intervals based on the raw scores showed improvement was 1.99 for medicine and 9.03 for the chiropractic group. This research indicates that chiropractic is 457% more effective than medicine for chronic low back pain.

Within that group of 457% falls patients cared for by muscle relaxants.

Hoiris et al. (2004) reported in their raw data that the chiropractic groups responded 24% better in reducing pain and concluded that, "Statistically, the chiropractic group responded significantly better than the control group with respect to a decrease in pain scores" (p. 396). This was done in "blinded, randomized clinical trials which are considered the gold standard of experimental design" (Hoiris et al., 2004, p. 396).

References

Ghaffari, M., Alipour, A., Farshad, A. A., Yensen, I., & Vingard, E. (2006). Incidence and recurrence of disabling low back pain and neck-shoulder pain. Spine, 31(21), 2500-2506.

Hoiris, K.T., Pfleger, B., McDuffie, F. C., Cotsonis, G., Elsangak, O., Hinson, R., & Verzosa, G. T. (2004). A randomized clinical trial comparing chiropractic adjustments to muscle relaxants for subacute low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 27(6), 388-398.

Chou, R. (2010). Pharmacological management of low back pain. Drugs, 70(4) 387-402.

van Tudlar, M. W., Touray, T., Furlan, A. D., Solway, S., & Bouter, L. M. (2003). Muscle relaxants for nonspecific low back pain: A Systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane collaboration. Spine, 28(17), 1978-1992.

Drugs.com, (2004). Skeletal muscle relaxants (systemic). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/cons/skel...

Wilkey, A., Gregory M., Byfield, D., & McCarthy, P. W. (2008). A comparison between chiropractic management and pain clinic management for chronic low-back pain in a national health Service outpatient clinic. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(5), 465-473.

Welcome to The Spine and Wellness Center!

No form settings found. Please configure it.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:00 am

8:30 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am

7:30 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am

7:30 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am

8:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am

7:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am

2:00 pm

Sunday:

**8:30 am

4:00 pm

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "Testimonials coming soon..."

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles