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Chiropractic Research Review

Flexion Distraction Superior to Exercise for Chronic LBP

Flexion distraction is a commonly used form of chiropractic care, with utilization rates of 58%. However, according to the authors of the current study, no randomized clinical trial has assessed the effectiveness of this treatment.

Two hundred and thirty-five subjects who were previously randomized to either chiropractic care (flexion distraction) or physical therapy (exercise program) were followed for one year via mailed questionnaires to assess levels of pain and dysfunction.

Results: Subjects had a decrease in pain and disability after intervention, regardless of which group they were in. However, during the year after care, subjects who received chiropractic care (flexion distraction therapy) had significantly lower pain scores than subjects who received physical therapy (exercise program).

The authors conclude: "Flexion distraction was found to be more effective in reducing pain for 1 year when compared to a form of physical therapy."

Cambron JA, Gudavalli MR, Hedeker D, McGregor M, Jedlicka J, Keenum M, et al. One-year follow-up of a randomized clinical trial comparing flexion distraction with an exercise program for chronic low-back pain. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, September 2006;12(7):659-68.

Chiropractic Research Review

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