Harvard Men's Health Watch

Chiropractic helps a little with back-related leg pain

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Chiropractic is a popular alternative therapy for low back pain.

Chiropractic manipulation of the spine provides limited and short-term relief from back-related leg pain, reports a study in Annals of Internal Medicine. Shooting nerve pain in the legs, or sciatica, is a common problem for men with back pain related to spinal disc problems or narrowing of the space around the spinal cord (spinal stenosis).

The study included about 200 people, ages 21 or older, who'd had back-related leg pain for at least four weeks. They were divided into two groups and randomly assigned to one of two treatments. One group got up to 20 chiropractic sessions over 12 weeks and four one-hour sessions of home exercise, plus medical advice on managing and recovering from the leg pain. The other group had only the exercise and advice.

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