A three year British study involved 741 patients. Roughly half received traditional medical treatment and the other half received chiropractic care. The 1990 report observed that patients seen by chiropractic doctors were significantly better within six months and remained so during the two year follow-up period. This, and other evidence, led researcher to conclude that chiropractic care compares more favorably than traditional outpatient hospital treatment.
Published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, this study is especially important due to its size and independent nature. Besides revealing the effectiveness of chiropractic in the short-term, the lasting effect of treatment two and three years later was significant.
Researchers used the Oswestry Pain Disability Questionnaire and the results of objective range of motion testing to confirm their findings. The patients' progress was measured by their ability to walk, lift, sit, and conduct their lives. Not only did the chiropractic patients experience better results for a longer period of time, they missed less time from work.
Based upon patients consulting chiropractic doctors instead of receiving hospital treatment, the researchers concluded that reduced absenteeism could save millions in lost production each year. Because of its effectiveness and long-term benefits, they recommended that including chiropractic in the British National Health Service should be considered.
Low Back Pain of Mechanical Origin: Randomized Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment, T.W. Meade, Sandra Dyer, Wendy Browne, Joy Townsend, A.O. Frank, British Medical Journal, Volume 300, June 2, 1990, Pages 1431-1437.