|Photo: Stuart Whitmore|
Illustration: Anne Asher
It seems to be the month for updated clinical guidelines and ground breaking research for diagnosing and treating back pain.
This week, the Academy for Chiropractic Education has published an update to their guidelines, entitled “Manual medicine guidelines for musculoskeletal injuries”. The guideline is geared toward practitioners and consumers of manual medicine.
Manual medicine is the use of hands to mobilize (and stabilize) the spine. You may recognize it as a chiropractic adjustment, although that is only one form. Manual medicine has a long history, and in less medical parlance is sometimes known as the “laying on of hands”.Although the guideline update was prepared by members of the chiropractic profession, they are not the only specialists to practice this type of medicine. Osteopaths, massage therapists and physical therapists also utilize manual medicine to treat patients' or clients' spines. Here are some of the main areas the updated guideline addresses:
- Medical history taking and physical exams
- The use of diagnostic tests
- Patient education, including encouraging them to be in charge of their condition and counselling them on remaining active within the limits of their pain.
- The use of manual therapy to normalize joint movement and the resulting nerve function, as well as to have an affect on the way the rest of the body adjusts to the problems in the spine.
- The use of complementary treatments such as traction, stretching and trigger point work to support the healing process in the joints, soft tissue and nervous tissue.
- When NOT to use the guidelines (ie in cases of severe strain or sprain, vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions)
If you are adventurous, you can read the guideline for yourself. It will give you the full scoop.
Braddock E, Greenlee J, Hammer RE, Johnson SF, Martello MJ, O'Connell MR, Rinzler R, Snider M, Swanson MR, Tain L, Walsh G. Manual medicine guidelines for musculoskeletal injuries. California: Academy for Chiropractic Education; 2007 Apr 1. 33 p.