With an encouraging bank of evidence slowly building around the chiropractic profession, and a world of work yet to be done, it’s important to mark each positive move in terms of research. One such study that may have flown under the radar focused on the link between chiropractic care and inflammatory markers, giving preliminary indications that chiropractic can make a statistically significant difference in terms of inflammation.
The study took chronic pain sufferers, administered chiropractic adjustments focused on the lower back (which was also the locus of pain) and compared their inflammatory markers with a pain-free control group. Though preliminary, it held some encouraging results that surely deserve further research investment.
The intervention group was given 9 chiropractic visits over a two-week period, and key inflammatory markers (interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein) were evaluated over this time. The adjustments were specifically targeted at the lower back. No adjustments to the cervical or thoracic spine were noted in the research.
Through double-blinded testing, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that chiropractic adjustments did indeed reduce inflammatory markers. The results showed normalising inflammatory markers.
The researchers did note that the chronic conditions were note completely resolved. However, this should not be discouraging news, especially considering that the intervention group were chronic pain sufferers in the first place.
Researchers did flag a limitation of the study in that the cytokine IL-6 is an acute phase pro-inflammatory mediator, whereas the intervention group in the study comprised chronic lower back pain sufferers. Still, modulations of IL-6 and CRP were observed over the course of the study.
The research was deemed preliminary, as it was limited in size, with 21 participants making up the control group and the intervention group.
Chronic pain takes time to heal, and many chiropractors work from the paradigm of restoring proper function rather than treating pain. Still, it’s nice to know that even within a two-week time-frame, the body can start to normalize its inflammation levels following chiropractic care.
 Roy, R, Boucher, J and Comtois, A (2010), “Inflammatory response following a short-term course of chiropractic treatment in subjects with and without chronic low back pain,” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 2010 Sep; 9(3):107-114, doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2010.06.002 retrieved 30 October 2015