Does chiropractic care help with lower back pain?

A new study says chiropractic care and traditional treatment can ease back pain.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the second-leading cause of disability worldwide and back pain, specifically, is the most common reason U.S. soldiers require medical attention for an issue that interrupts combat readiness.

Researchers recently studied active-duty personnel aged 18 to 50 who suffered from back pain, experimenting to see whether chiropractic spinal manipulation, when added to regular care, could be effective.

Of the 750 individuals studied, about three-quarters of whom were male, those who also received chiropractic care have less lower back pain and better overall satisfaction after six weeks of trials.

One issue with the study is that those receiving the additional treatments were aware of it, so results could be skewed by a placebo effect; when people know they're getting extra care and expect a treatment to do them good, it's more likely to work.

Chiropractic care isn't a first-line treatment, the study suggests. But, for some people, it could potentially help as a component of multidisciplinary care to alleviate lower back discomfort.

Sunny Intwala is a third-year cardiology fellow affiliated with the Boston University School of Medicine and a clinical exercise physiologist who works in the ABC News Medical Unit.