Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 167–180 | Cite as

Well-being outcomes of chiropractic intervention for lower back pain: a systematic review

  • Lynne ParkinsonEmail author
  • David Sibbritt
  • Philip Bolton
  • Joan van Rotterdam
  • Inger Villadsen
Review Article


The usefulness of chiropractic for treatment of low back pain is a contentious issue. Chiropractors advocate holism and general well-being as a key principle on which they base their clinical practice, yet the quality of life, lifestyle, health and economic impacts of chiropractic intervention for back pain in adults have rarely been investigated. This article provides an overview of chiropractic principles and practices, together with the results of a systematic review of peer-reviewed publications between 2000 and 2010 retrieved from MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, AMED and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. This review sought to determine the benefits of chiropractic treatment and care to well-being, and to what extent chiropractic treatment and care improve quality of life. Of 1,165 articles, 12 articles were retained, representing six studies (four randomised controlled trial, two observational) of varying quality. There was a high degree of inconsistency and lack of standardisation in measurement instruments and outcome measures. Three studies reported reduced use of other/extra treatments as a positive outcome; two studies reported a positive effect of chiropractic intervention on pain, and two studies reported a positive effect on disability. The six studies reviewed concentrated on the impact of chiropractic care on physical health and disability, rather than the wider holistic view which was the focus of this study. It is difficult, therefore, to defend any conclusion about the impact of chiropractic intervention on the quality of life, lifestyle, health and economic impact on chiropractic patients presenting with back pain.


Back pain Chiropractic Economics Health Holistic Life style Quality of life 



All researchers in the Faculty of Health at the University of Newcastle are members of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). We acknowledge Elodie Sprenger, Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle, for assistance with literature searches and article retrieval, and Cassie Curryer, Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle, for assistance with editing and manuscript preparation.




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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynne Parkinson
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Sibbritt
    • 2
  • Philip Bolton
    • 3
  • Joan van Rotterdam
    • 4
  • Inger Villadsen
    • 5
  1. 1.Health CRN, IHSSRCentral Queensland University AustraliaRockhamptonAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental HealthUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Research Higher Degree CandidateUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  5. 5.Nineways Chiropractic ClinicNewcastleAustralia

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