Lumbar Herniated Disc? Adjustments and Acupressure More Effective
Research from an unlikely source last year provided further support for chiropractic treatment of lumbar herniated discs. Chinese scientists found that a combination of adjustments (chiropractic spinal manipulation) and acupressure (qi pathway intervention) were more effective than conventional acupuncture and Tuina in research published last April in the medical journal Zhongguo Zhen Jiu.
Seventy-one patients with confirmed lumbar disc herniation were randomized to the newer combination therapy of acupressure and chiropractic as opposed to the more traditional Chinese treatment of acupuncture and Tuina. The scientists monitored pain scores, activities of daily living disability, measures of well being, and a blood test for inflammation.
The scientists reported that adjustments and acupressure were significantly more effective (91.7% cured) for all four main outcomes when compared with acupuncture and Tuina therapy (77.1% cured), after just 10 treatments. Pain scores, Oswestry ratings of activities of daily living disability, health related quality of life measures, and blood tests monitoring serum tumor necrosis factor (TNA alpha, a measure of inflammation and hence the analgesic effect of the treatments) all showed significantly greater improvement in patients randomized to spinal manipulation and acupressure.
After 15 and 30 treatments the analgesic effect of adjustments and acupressure continued to be greater than the effect seen in patients randomized to acupuncture and Tuina.
The study was one of the first attempts to measure differences in the various treatments using modern outcome measures, and points to the need for more studies concerning the relative benefits of adjustments and acupressure, methods commonly used by chiropractors and some massage therapists, and offered here at Leach Chiropractic Clinic. These techniques are important to try even for serious herniated discs, given current research that suggests back surgery should be avoided whenever possible.
Robert A. Leach, DC, MS, FICC(h), CHES
Chinese scientists JR Yang, JP Zhang, JC Yu and JX Han reported their findings from a randomized clinical trial, that adjustments and abdominal qi pathway acupoint manual stimulation with both hands was more effective than conventional Chinese acupuncture and Tuina for lumbar herniated discs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23819224
Studies suggest massage techniques are beneficial for a wide range of symptoms and may help reduce negative effects of stress associated with back pain and other problems. For example, a recent trial of massage therapy and yoga found both were effective for reduction of prenatal depression as well as for reduction in prematurity, compared with infants whose mothers were randomized to a control group: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319349/
Back surgery for herniated lumbar discs sometimes hurts more than it helps, which is why some experts suggest conservative therapies and exercise are better interventions: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/13/255457090/pain-in-the-back-exercise-may-help-you-learn-not-to-feel-it#commentBlock