Lower back pain, section 2: Research status

by | Feb 15, 2016 | Lower Back Health, Lower back pain | 2 comments

Dr. Ronald Lavine treats low back pain

This is the second part of a three part series of articles on lower back pain.

Need to catch up on your reading?  Here’s a link to part 1.

Spinal adjustments for lower back pain

There’s a lot of scientific research about the use of spinal adjustments (also known as spinal manipulation) for lower back pain.

The emerging research consensus is that spinal manipulation is as effective as, or more effective than, other methods for the treatment of low back pain.

Adjustments are effective – Are they also safe?

There’s almost no evidence that adjustments cause harm in patients with low back problems.

What about surgery?

In some respects, surgery for low back pain is one of the least-researched treatment methods.

One of the main limitations of research for the effectiveness of surgery is the difficulty in setting up a control group.  To ensure rigorous scientific design you’d have to enroll a group of people in the study and then give them the “placebo” treatment of undergoing all of the components of surgery – including anesthesia, incisions, post-op recovery protocols, etc., without having actually performed any specific intervention for the spine.

Most researchers would consider this to be unethical.

That leaves an ironic situation — one of the most invasive procedures with the highest risk of side-effects – surgery – gets a free pass when it comes to having to prove itself as being safe and effective.

Next section:  lower back pain throughout the life cycle

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.



  1. Mary

    I have hip problem, I do not want surgery. Is there anything else to do. Please let me know.
    Mary shapiro

    • Ronald Lavine, D.C.

      I can’t possibly reply to your question based on such limited information


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