Spinal manipulative therapy and exercise for older adults with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial

Craig Schulz, Roni Evans, Michele Maiers, Karen Schulz, Brent Leininger, Gert Bronfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common disabling condition in older adults which often limits physical function and diminishes quality of life. Two clinical trials in older adults have shown spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) results in similar or small improvements relative to medical care; however, the effectiveness of adding SMT or rehabilitative exercise to home exercise is unclear. Methods: We conducted a randomized clinical trial assessing the comparative effectiveness of adding SMT or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise in adults 65 or older with sub-acute or chronic LBP. Treatments were provided over 12-weeks and self-report outcomes were collected at 4, 12, 26, and 52 weeks. The primary outcome was pain severity. Secondary outcomes included back disability, health status, medication use, satisfaction with care, and global improvement. Linear mixed models were used to analyze outcomes. The primary analysis included longitudinal outcomes in the short (week 4-12) and long-term (week 4-52). An omnibus test assessing differences across all groups over the year was used to control for multiplicity. Secondary analyses included outcomes at each time point and responder analyses. This study was funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Results: 241 participants were randomized and 230 (95%) provided complete primary outcome data. The primary analysis showed group differences in pain over the one-year were small and not statistically significant. Pain severity was reduced by 30 to 40% after treatment in all 3 groups with the largest difference (eight percentage points) favoring SMT and home exercise over home exercise alone. Group differences at other time points ranged from 0 to 6 percentage points with no consistent pattern favoring one treatment. One-year post-treatment pain reductions diminished in all three groups. Secondary self-report outcomes followed a similar pattern with no important group differences, except satisfaction with care, where the two combination groups were consistently superior to home exercise alone. Conclusions: Adding spinal manipulation or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise alone does not appear to improve pain or disability in the short- or long-term for older adults with chronic low back pain, but did enhance satisfaction with care. Trial registration: NCT00269321.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2019

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Musculoskeletal Manipulations
Low Back Pain
Randomized Controlled Trials
Pain
Self Report
United States Health Resources and Services Administration
Spinal Manipulation
United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
Therapeutics
Health Status
Linear Models
Quality of Life
Clinical Trials

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

Cite this

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title = "Spinal manipulative therapy and exercise for older adults with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial",
abstract = "Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common disabling condition in older adults which often limits physical function and diminishes quality of life. Two clinical trials in older adults have shown spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) results in similar or small improvements relative to medical care; however, the effectiveness of adding SMT or rehabilitative exercise to home exercise is unclear. Methods: We conducted a randomized clinical trial assessing the comparative effectiveness of adding SMT or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise in adults 65 or older with sub-acute or chronic LBP. Treatments were provided over 12-weeks and self-report outcomes were collected at 4, 12, 26, and 52 weeks. The primary outcome was pain severity. Secondary outcomes included back disability, health status, medication use, satisfaction with care, and global improvement. Linear mixed models were used to analyze outcomes. The primary analysis included longitudinal outcomes in the short (week 4-12) and long-term (week 4-52). An omnibus test assessing differences across all groups over the year was used to control for multiplicity. Secondary analyses included outcomes at each time point and responder analyses. This study was funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Results: 241 participants were randomized and 230 (95{\%}) provided complete primary outcome data. The primary analysis showed group differences in pain over the one-year were small and not statistically significant. Pain severity was reduced by 30 to 40{\%} after treatment in all 3 groups with the largest difference (eight percentage points) favoring SMT and home exercise over home exercise alone. Group differences at other time points ranged from 0 to 6 percentage points with no consistent pattern favoring one treatment. One-year post-treatment pain reductions diminished in all three groups. Secondary self-report outcomes followed a similar pattern with no important group differences, except satisfaction with care, where the two combination groups were consistently superior to home exercise alone. Conclusions: Adding spinal manipulation or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise alone does not appear to improve pain or disability in the short- or long-term for older adults with chronic low back pain, but did enhance satisfaction with care. Trial registration: NCT00269321.",
author = "Craig Schulz and Roni Evans and Michele Maiers and Karen Schulz and Brent Leininger and Gert Bronfort",
year = "2019",
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journal = "Chiropractic and Manual Therapies",
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T1 - Spinal manipulative therapy and exercise for older adults with chronic low back pain

T2 - A randomized clinical trial

AU - Schulz, Craig

AU - Evans, Roni

AU - Maiers, Michele

AU - Schulz, Karen

AU - Leininger, Brent

AU - Bronfort, Gert

PY - 2019/5/15

Y1 - 2019/5/15

N2 - Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common disabling condition in older adults which often limits physical function and diminishes quality of life. Two clinical trials in older adults have shown spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) results in similar or small improvements relative to medical care; however, the effectiveness of adding SMT or rehabilitative exercise to home exercise is unclear. Methods: We conducted a randomized clinical trial assessing the comparative effectiveness of adding SMT or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise in adults 65 or older with sub-acute or chronic LBP. Treatments were provided over 12-weeks and self-report outcomes were collected at 4, 12, 26, and 52 weeks. The primary outcome was pain severity. Secondary outcomes included back disability, health status, medication use, satisfaction with care, and global improvement. Linear mixed models were used to analyze outcomes. The primary analysis included longitudinal outcomes in the short (week 4-12) and long-term (week 4-52). An omnibus test assessing differences across all groups over the year was used to control for multiplicity. Secondary analyses included outcomes at each time point and responder analyses. This study was funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Results: 241 participants were randomized and 230 (95%) provided complete primary outcome data. The primary analysis showed group differences in pain over the one-year were small and not statistically significant. Pain severity was reduced by 30 to 40% after treatment in all 3 groups with the largest difference (eight percentage points) favoring SMT and home exercise over home exercise alone. Group differences at other time points ranged from 0 to 6 percentage points with no consistent pattern favoring one treatment. One-year post-treatment pain reductions diminished in all three groups. Secondary self-report outcomes followed a similar pattern with no important group differences, except satisfaction with care, where the two combination groups were consistently superior to home exercise alone. Conclusions: Adding spinal manipulation or supervised rehabilitative exercise to home exercise alone does not appear to improve pain or disability in the short- or long-term for older adults with chronic low back pain, but did enhance satisfaction with care. Trial registration: NCT00269321.

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