Years ago there was very little scientific data that meets today's standards on the effectiveness of chiropractic care. Today newer studies document the significant improvement that patients receive from chiropractic care, especially for patients with musculoskeletal problems such as neck and back pain. The question has been raised as to the effectiveness of chiropractic in years past, as compared to the more modern studies documenting positive patient results today.
A study to compare the results obtained years ago with those of today, and to answer the question of chiropractic results over the years was published in the August 9, 2012 issue of the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research. This study specifically reviewed records for patients with headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, and radicular pain. The study looked at the results of patient care from Sherman Chiropractic College for the years 2010 to 2011, and compared it to the results from a survey done by the International Chiropractors Association for the years 1949 and 1950.
Similar scales were used to measure patient self improvement so that a comparison of results could be made. The recent patient group from Sherman College was referred to as the "SC group", while the 1949-50 group was referred to as the "ICA group".
Both the SC group and the ICA group showed their highest level of results for patients with neck pain with 96% and 89.1% of the groups respectively showing resolved or much improved status for neck pain. For headaches the results were again relatively equal with the SC group showing 87% resolved compared to 82% for the ICA group. For back pain the results were 83% for the SC group and 83.5% for the ICA group reporting resolved or much improved. And for the patients with nerve pain the SC group showed 80% resolved or much improved compared to the ICA group which showed 85.1% for this same problem.
The results of this study showed that chiropractic has been consistently beneficial to patients with these problems over the decades, even when in the past there were little or no scientifically acceptable studies to document the improvement patients were feeling. In their conclusion, the authors sum up the results by stating, "The present study shows consistency in improvement outcomes when comparing past and present, frequently encountered musculoskeletal complaints."