Time and repetition are the key components to chiropractic helping people with headaches, neck and upper back pain. These are essentially the findings of a study published in the August 21, 2008 edition of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research.
Over the years critics of chiropractic and insurance companies attempting to maximize profits at the expense of good patient care, have attempted to limit the number of chiropractic visits claiming that more than 6 to 12 visits are not needed. While it is accepted that every individual under chiropractic care will respond differently, a comprehensive study was done to see if there was any legitimacy to the attempts to limit chiropractic to a certain number.
Researchers in this study looked at published "Randomized Clinical Trials" (RCTs) to determine if there was any validity to the 6 - 12 visit argument. In total 47 chiropractic studies were found involving 2,069 patients with headaches, neck and upper back pain. The data from these RCTs was analyzed by reviewing the total number of subjects in these 47 studies, the average number of visits, the total initial pain score, the total follow-up pain score and the percent of improvement. Averages were then calculated to see the number of visits needed for resolution of the symptoms of headaches, neck and upper back pain.
The results for individuals will most certainly vary. And the number of visits for total correction of spinal structures and subluxations was not looked at in this review. However, for relief and stabilization the number of average visits projected according to the researchers calculations was 24 for patients suffering from headaches, neck and upper back pain. The study judged progress on these patients as helping the individual patient achieve a return to normal, which they defined as, range of motion within normal limits and activities of daily living within the normal range.
Dr. John Maltby, president of the International Chiropractors Association and researcher on this study commented, "Every patient is a unique individual and will respond differently to chiropractic care. However, in reviewing the data, the evidence shows that placing an arbitrary limit of 6 to 12 on the number of visits for chiropractic care falls outside the averages and is not in the best interest of good patient care. Each patient has a unique spine and will respond differently."