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Efficacy of Chiropractic Adjustments versus Self-Manipulation of the Lumbar Spine in a 17-year-old Male with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Case Study


Steven Windwer, DC, PT & Mark Wolfman, DC


Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ April 22, 2015 ~ Pages 43-47 



Objective: To describe a patient who received chiropractic adjustments after habitually self-manipulating his lumbar spine, and to compare the efficacy of the two treatments in the available literature.


Clinical Features: A 17-year-old male patient sought care for chronic low back pain.  One year prior, he suffered a weight-lifting injury which was when he began self-manipulating. The pain worsened throughout the year, up until pursuing chiropractic care. 


Interventions and Outcomes: Initial history and examination revealed global hypermobility of the lumbar spine but with areas of segmental hypomobility.  Pain medications and injections proved ineffective. Specific chiropractic care 3 times weekly for 3 months provided relief of low back pain. 


Conclusions: This case suggests that specific high-velocity low-amplitude chiropractic adjustments are safer and more effective at treating low back pain than self-manipulating, and that non-specific self-manipulation can exacerbate current problems in patients.  


Keywords: Chiropractic, adjustment, self-manipulation, spinal instability, cavitation, hypermobility, audible pop, ligament laxity, ligament strain, subluxation

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