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Chiropractic Research Review

Chiropractic for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions?

Since the dawn of chiropractic, a great deal has been written pertaining to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and somatovisceral conditions. However, scientific evidence supporting a rationale for this proposed connection remains lacking.



The goal of this study was to "find out how frequently patients report nonmusculoskeletal symptomatic improvements and to find out more about the types of such reactions that patients believe to be associated with chiropractic treatment." Twenty consecutive patients from each of 87 Swedish chiropractors answered questionnaires on return visits within two weeks of previous treatment, with a total of 1,504 questionnaires completed and returned.

Results: Patients reported numerous positive improvements in nonmusculoskeletal symptoms, including:

* easier to breathe (98 patients);
* improved digestive function (92 patients);
* clearer/better/sharper vision (49 patients);
* improved circulation (34 patients);
* less ringing in the ears (10 patients);
* acne/eczema better (8 patients);
* dysmenorrhoea better (7 patients); and
* asthma/allergies better (6 patients).

The number of spinal areas treated was also related to the number of reactions: 15% reported experiencing positive reactions having a single area adjusted, as compared to 35% of patients having four areas adjusted. Overall, 23% of chiropractic patients reported experiencing changes in symptoms that were not musculoskeletal in nature.

Take Note: The authors are quick to note that these findings do not assert any sort of causal relation between treatment and reaction. However, they conclude that a minority of chiropractic patients do report having positive nonmusculoskeletal reactions following SMT, and that "such reports cluster predominantly around specific symptoms."

Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. The types and frequencies of improved nonmusculoskeletal symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Nov./Dec. 1999:22(9), pp559-64. Reprints: Tel: (800) 325-4177 (ext. 4350); Fax: (314) 432-1380

Chiropractic Research Review

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