Enhanced Back Pain Relief with Exercise Plus Chiropractic

Time and time again, studies have demonstrated that exercise therapies are an effective way to relieve and prevent back pain. Now research shows that spinal adjustments, like what your Salem chiropractor provides, can actually enhance the effects of exercise therapies in treating back pain.

A new study published in the medical journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder compared the effects of chiropractic care plus exercise versus exercise alone for treating back pain. The exercise therapies included gentle stretching, strengthening, and muscle and motor control exercises. Half of patients were treated with these exercises alone, and the other half were treated with these exercises immediately after receiving manual therapies. Manual therapy included treatments commonly used by Salem chiropractor Dr. Michels, including spinal adjustments, mobilization, and therapeutic exercises.

The manual therapy plus exercise group had significantly better pain relief immediately after treatment compared to the exercise-only group. This advantage lingered at the three and six month follow-up appointments. By the end of the study, the manual therapy patients had lower pain scores and lower disability scores than the exercise-only group.

The results demonstrate that combining chiropractic care with exercise is better than exercise alone for back pain. While earlier studies have pointed to the benefits of a combined treatment approach, this is the first study to include a true placebo.

Although many patients are assigned therapeutic exercises to treat back pain, adherence to at-home exercise programs can be an issue since some patients worry about whether the exercise will make their back pain worse. This could not be further from the truth; fear of movement has actually been tied to the development of chronic pain symptoms. Avoiding movement can cause your inflamed ligaments and tissues to develop scar tissue, further limiting your range of motion, and causing more pain. You also may suffer from muscle degeneration from inactivity. Dr. Michels will prescribe therapeutic exercises you can perform safely without fear of reinjury.

Salem chiropractor Dr. Michels can provide you with efficient pain relief through chiropractic adjustments, so you can begin reaping the benefits of exercise therapy with reduced pain.


Balthazard P, et al. Manual therapy followed by specific active exercises versus a placebo followed by specific active exercises on the improvement of functional disability in patients with chronic non specific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012; 13: 162. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-162.

  1. dr Robertson

    Dr. Julia Robertson, DC is a Chiropractic Physician who worked with Michels Spinal Rehab and Associates and who is now the proud owner of Robertson Spinal Rehab & Associates. She provides personal one on one services specializing in spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, nutritional counseling in addition to developing personal rehab programs.