Utilization of chiropractic services in patients with osteoarthritis and spine pain at a publicly funded healthcare facility in Canada: A retrospective study

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2022;35(5):1075-1084. doi: 10.3233/BMR-210192.


Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent and disabling musculoskeletal diseases worldwide. There is preliminary evidence from experimental studies and consensus documents that chiropractic management may alleviate spine and/or extremity OA related pain in the short term.

Objective: This research explores the potential relationship of a pragmatic course of care, including soft tissue therapy, spinal manipulation, and other treatments commonly delivered by chiropractors, to spine and extremity pain in patients with OA.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from the chiropractic program at a publicly funded healthcare facility was conducted. The primary outcome measures for patients diagnosed with spine and/or extremity OA (n= 76) were numeric pain scores of each spinal and extremity region at baseline and discharge, and a change score was determined.

Results: Statistically significant improvements that exceed a clinically meaningful difference in pain numeric rating scale scores were demonstrated by point change reductions from baseline to discharge visits. Change scores exceeding a minimally clinically important difference of "2-points" were present in the sacroiliac (-2.91), extremity (-2.84), cervical (-2.73), thoracic (-2.61), and lumbar (-2.59) regions.

Conclusion: Patients diagnosed with OA in a socioeconomically disadvantaged community demonstrated reductions in mean pain scores in both a clinically meaningful and statistically significant manner concurrent with a course of chiropractic care.

Keywords: Osteoarthritis; chiropractic; delivery of healthcare; extremity; musculoskeletal disease; pain; retrospective studies; spine; vulnerable populations.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Chiropractic*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain* / therapy
  • Osteoarthritis* / therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome