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5 Top Chiropractic Research Studies That Debunk Common Myths & More

A Look at the History of Chiropractic Research Studies

Chiropractic started with D.D. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa, in 1895, with the opening of his first clinic and then, a few years later, a school to teach others how to use chiropractic to heal others.

Initially, chiropractic research studies were obscure, even across the medical community, due to a lack of technology and dependence on tradition and learning from apprenticeships.

A Black and White Photograph of Some of Historic Chiropractic Figures Examining Anatomical Models of the Human Spine and Discussing the Very Same Chiropractic Theories That Have Driven Continued Chiropractic Research Studies
Chiropractic Research Studies: History

Medical and healthcare research began to gain traction in the United States around the 1940s, following World War II.

This led to a cascade of national corporations and government-run programs creating regulations for scientific research methods.

Chiropractic gradually joined the wave, producing research to support the experiences of practitioners who witnessed people finding relief through spinal adjustments.

The first ever published research paper for chiropractors, by Modernized Chiropractic, surfaced in 1906.

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Fast forward to the period between 1970 and 1990, and research became widely influential after the American Medical Association declared that it would not refer patients to chiropractors and even released a pamphlet condemning the practice as unsubstantiated.

Ironically, this move by the American Medical Association ran counter to the research it purported to support.

From that moment onwards, chiropractors have been working diligently to legitimize the practice by producing quality research to showcase the myriad benefits of chiropractic care.

What followed is a plethora of chiropractic research studies that have cemented the place of chiropractic care in modern medicine.

5 Top Chiropractic Research Studies You Need to Share

In this article, we will take you through a countdown of the 5 top chiropractic research studies you should know, highlighting the latest findings in chiropractic research and demonstrating the efficacy and validity of chiropractic care.

Let’s count ’em down!

5) — The Latest Research on Chiropractic and Radiculopathy

Our first chiropractic research study to discuss addresses neck pain accompanied by radiating pain down the arms, a condition often caused by degenerative changes to the discs in the neck.

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As the discs in the spine begin to degrade, nerves can become overstimulated, resulting in pain, numbness, or tingling in the arms and hands.

As this condition advances, it may lead to muscle weakness, the breakdown of other parts of the spine, and potential permanent damage.

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This particular study evaluated the effectiveness and safety of combining acupuncture and chiropractic treatments to reduce pain and improve patient function.

The researchers found that integrating chiropractic adjustments with acupuncture effectively reduced pain and alleviated symptoms associated with neck pain and radiculopathy.

According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture helps balance blood flow and harmonize the yin and yang energies, thus contributing to symptom relief.

Chiropractic treatment, on the other hand, focuses on removing pressure from the nerves in the neck through high-velocity, low-amplitude adjustments, which can alleviate the symptoms and side effects of cervical spondylosis and the accompanying radiculopathy.

This study highlighting the latest research on chiropractic and radiculopathy is significant as it adds to the growing body of top chiropractic research studies demonstrating the positive effects of chiropractic care in managing and treating various conditions.

4) — The Impact of Chiropractic Treatment on Depression

One of the latest findings in chiropractic research is a groundbreaking study exploring the impact of chiropractic treatment on depression and how chiropractic treatment can impact other psychological and neurobiological conditions such as anxiety.

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This particular chiropractic research study delved into clinical depression, characterized by elevated stress hormones in the brain.

In this study, researchers reviewed 35 cases and analyses concerning chiropractic care’s impact on Major Depressive Disorder.

The findings suggested that chiropractic could serve as a drug-free and viable alternative in the management of depression.

Chiropractic spinal adjustments work in tandem with the nervous system to facilitate the body’s healing process.

Typically, for conditions such as neck pain, low back pain, or nerve pain, chiropractors employ adjustments to relieve pressure on joints or discs that may be impinging nerves.

A relatively untapped domain within chiropractic care is clinical neurology.

Chiropractors who specialize in clinical neurology work with the autonomic nervous system, which includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the “fight or flight” system, while the parasympathetic nervous system is known as the “rest and digest” system.

Ideally, the parasympathetic nervous system should be more active than the sympathetic system, ensuring that individuals do not exist in a perpetual state of stress.

Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps regulate various bodily functions, including:

  • Better digestion
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Stress reduction
  • Decreased respiration
  • Lower heart rate
  • Improved sleep quality

This chiropractic research study is significant as it illuminates the potential role of chiropractic care in the treatment of psychological disorders and contributes to the latest findings in chiropractic research.

3) — The Effects of Chiropractic Treatment on Children’s Health

Occupying a distinguished position in our list of the 5 top chiropractic research studies is a notable study that looks at the effects of chiropractic treatment on children’s health.

Published in 2019, this meticulous study involved an extensive analysis of hundreds of journals to unearth data regarding the efficacy of manual therapy on children and babies.

In this encompassing review, the researchers examined a gamut of manual therapies, including chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage, and their impact on an array of conditions that children may encounter.

The ailments addressed in the study included:

  • Bedwetting
  • Constipation
  • Excessive gas
  • Colic
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • General neck and back pain
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The comprehensive literature review unveiled the remarkable efficacy of non-invasive, drug-free healthcare modalities in improving the well-being of pediatric patients.

While the notion of administering adjustments to babies and small children may evoke apprehension among many, it’s crucial to understand that chiropractic adjustments for children are markedly different from those performed on adults.

Often, subtle movements of the pelvis, sacrum, or upper neck can produce monumental improvements in a child’s quality of life.

Chiropractic care for children can not only enhance their comfort but, more importantly, pave the way for them to thrive and function at their optimal capacity throughout life.

This research study is a testament to the versatility and efficacy of chiropractic care across age groups, and reinforces the importance of chiropractic research studies in informing both practitioners and the general public.

2) — Current Research on Chiropractic Treatment for Chronic Pain

Second in our lineup of top chiropractic research studies is a study that deviates from the traditional perception of research papers being solely experimental.

In the chiropractic domain, research papers often serve as guides designed to equip chiropractors around the world with the knowledge to formulate treatment plans that are both safe and effective for patients.

This paper is an exemplar of such a guide, focusing on ‘Best Practices’ for managing chronic pain through chiropractic care.

As you can imagine, chronic pain is a notoriously challenging area for healthcare professionals across various disciplines.

Its intricate nature stems from several factors, such as:

  • Pain that has accumulated over an extended period, often more than ten years, may not dissipate swiftly.
  • Pain medication often merely conceals the pain without addressing the underlying cause.
  • Surgical interventions can sometimes lead to complications or secondary issues, and may not always successfully address the primary problem.
  • Chronic pain can exacerbate or be linked to other health conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

In this study, the authors convened a 62-member Delphi panel to arrive at a consensus regarding the chiropractic management of five prevalent chronic pain conditions: low back pain, neck pain, tension headaches, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.

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The study culminated in the development of a guide that incorporates a multifaceted approach, combining spinal manipulation with complementary therapies such as low-level laser therapy, interferential current, exercises, yoga, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

This invaluable resource assists healthcare practitioners, particularly chiropractors, in staying on top of of the latest findings in chiropractic research and the current research on chiropractic treatment for chronic pain.

It provides them with a robust framework for employing integrative strategies to effectively address chronic pain and improve the quality of life for their patients.

1) — Research on the Safety of Chiropractic: Chiropractic and Stroke Risk

Crowning our list of top chiropractic research studies is a study that delves into research on the safety of chiropractic, specifically the relationship between chiropractic and stroke risk.

This topic is often a hotbed for debates, particularly the infinitesimal risk of stroke associated with chiropractic neck adjustments.

Dr. David Cassidy took it upon himself to elucidate the truth concerning the interplay between chiropractic treatments and stroke.

This pivotal research aimed to explore the association between chiropractic visits and vertebrobasilar artery stroke.

Interestingly, it also reviewed this with the incidence of strokes occurring in the context of visits to primary care physicians.

The researchers evaluated cases of strokes that were admitted to Ontario hospitals over a period spanning from 1993 to 2002.

The eligibility criteria encompassed an assessment of the patients’ exposure to chiropractors and primary care physicians preceding the stroke.

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The study concluded that out of a population exceeding 100 million persons, there were 818 strokes that resulted in hospitalization.

Importantly, the study established that there was no elevated correlation between chiropractic visits and stroke among patients over the age of 45.

Conversely, there was a notable association between visits to primary care doctors and subsequent strokes.

Chiropractors are extensively trained to assess and ascertain the risk of stroke prior to administering chiropractic adjustments.

They utilize a battery of tests to determine if a stroke or any other adverse effect could potentially occur before proceeding with adjustments.

This study holds the distinction of being one of the most significant and top chiropractic research studies due to its thorough investigation and findings concerning chiropractic adjustments.

It serves as a testament to the safety and proficiency of chiropractic care, dispelling myths and emphasizing that strokes are not exclusively associated with chiropractic interventions.

Unlocking the Future: The Power of Chiropractic Research

Research is an indispensable cog in the wheel of progress and the expansion of our understanding, particularly in healthcare.

We are fortunate to be living in an era where chiropractic research studies are on the rise, providing an unprecedented wealth of insights.

Every week, my inbox is filled with updates from PubMed that offer a glimpse into the latest findings in chiropractic research.

These studies meticulously examine the mechanisms underlying chiropractic treatments and the plethora of conditions they can help manage and treat.

As a chiropractor practicing today, there is an abundance of empirical evidence that substantiates the efficacy of the interventions we employ.

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Regardless of the areas that pique your interest or the specific patient concerns you address in your practice, there’s a high probability that top chiropractic research studies fortify and endorse your approach.

As healthcare professionals, it’s incumbent upon us to stay on top of of these developments and continually integrate the latest findings in chiropractic research into our practices.

A Young Male Chiropractor Starts Shooting Videos Discussing the Latest Findings in Chiropractic Research to Share on His Practice's Social Pages
Chiropractic Research Studies: Knowledge is Power

This commitment not only elevates the standard of care we provide but also reinforces the trust and confidence that patients place in chiropractic treatments, whether we’re looking at the latest research on chiropractic and radiculopathy, the impact of chiropractic treatment on depression and anxiety, the effects of chiropractic treatment on children’s health, the current research on chiropractic for chronic pain, or research on the safety of chiropractic and chiropractic and stroke risk.

In closing, the blossoming landscape of chiropractic research studies is not only great for practitioners but, most importantly, for the countless individuals whose lives are immeasurably enriched through the healing touch of chiropractic care.

A Word About Patient Pilot by The Smart Chiropractor

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Thanks for reading!

We hope this article has given you some great notes to share with your patients so you can create videos and more great content that covers how you can help your community can benefit from chiropractic care – more specifically, how they can benefit from YOUR unique brand of chiropractic care.

Our team at The Smart Chiropractor is dedicated to making patient communication easier for DCs and their staff through free resources like our blog and our subscription-based patient-education-focused marketing materials and services.

That’s where Patient Pilot comes in.

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Our automated email campaigns were designed to help provide patients with a fantastic experience that, in turn, can help fill the holes in your practice’s patient bucket and generates excellent ROI.

Over the past year, our team of chiropractic marketing geeks at The Smart Chiropractor has worked with over 300 practices and sent over 10 million emails – and that includes emails about chiropractic research studies they should know.

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There’s one BIG thing we learned from working with practice after practice after practice that we’ve kept in mind as we crafted our recent top 10 list of email marketing best practices…

Too many chiropractors with holes in their schedule form their marketing strategy around the notion that they have a new patient problem.

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If you have an email list of over 300 patients – that’s 300 local patients that have walked through your doors and experienced your care firsthand – it’s not true.

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