Shoe Orthotics for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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A recent study in the by the National University of Health Sciences in  Illinois demonstrated the usefulness of custom foot orthotics for back pain. A randomized controlled trial with 225 participants showed that patient who used custom foot orthotics for 6 weeks demonstrated a great improvement in back pain. The group that received custom orthotics and chiropractic adjustment demonstrated even more improvement in back pain and improved function.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the efficacy of shoe orthotics with and without chiropractic treatment for chronic low back pain compared with no treatment.

DESIGN:

Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING:

Integrative medicine teaching clinic at a university.

PARTICIPANTS:

Adult subjects (N=225) with symptomatic low back pain of ≥3 months were recruited from a volunteer sample.

INTERVENTIONS:

Subjects were randomized into 1 of 3 treatment groups (shoe orthotic, plus, and waitlist groups). The shoe orthotic group received custom-made shoe orthotics. The plus group received custom-made orthotics plus chiropractic manipulation, hot or cold packs, and manual soft tissue massage. The waitlist group received no care.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary outcome measures were change in perceived back pain (numerical pain rating scale) and functional health status (Oswestry Disability Index) after 6 weeks of study participation. Outcomes were also assessed after 12 weeks and then after an additional 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS:

After 6 weeks, all 3 groups demonstrated significant within-group improvement in average back pain, but only the shoe orthotic and plus groups had significant within-group improvement in function. When compared with the waitlist group, the shoe orthotic group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in pain (P<.0001) and function (P=.0068). The addition of chiropractic to orthotics treatment demonstrated significantly greater improvements in function (P=.0278) when compared with orthotics alone, but no significant difference in pain (P=.3431). Group differences at 12 weeks and later were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

Six weeks of prescription shoe orthotics significantly improved back pain and dysfunction compared with no treatment. The addition of chiropractic care led to higher improvements in function.

KEYWORDS:

Chiropractic; Low back pain; Orthotic devices; Rehabilitation; Shoes

PMID:
28465224
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2017.03.028
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