For years, chiropractors have prescribed custom foot orthotics to patients suffering with back pain. A new study conducted by the National University of Health Sciences shows why – it works! The research was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and was the first large-scale study to evaluate the effects of shoe orthotics on back pain.
For the study, volunteers with a history of back pain for more than 3 months were randomly divided into three groups. One group received no care and served as the control group. A second group was given custom shoe orthotics. The last group was given custom shoe orthotics in addition to chiropractic care.
There are a variety of orthotics available to doctors and consumers for customization. In this study, the orthotics were supplied by TCA Silver Corporate Member, Foot Levelers, Inc., a provider of individually designed functional orthotics for more than 65 years. The subjects were evaluated using a numerical pain scale and functional health status after 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
Researchers found that all 3 groups demonstrated some improvement in average back pain after 6 weeks. The group that received orthotics showed significant improvements in pain and function when compared to the control group. This improvement in function was even greater among subjects receiving both orthotics and chiropractic care. After the initial 6 weeks, the control group was also given custom orthotics. Not surprisingly, at the 12 week follow-up, there was little difference in the 3 groups. Researchers noted: “Improvements across time remained significant up to 12 months in all 3 groups.”
This study reveals that orthotics have a beneficial effect on not only foot problems, but also low back pain. The combination of orthotics and chiropractic care can provide a safe, drug-free, yet highly effective treatment for many patients.
If you are suffering from low back pain, especially if it is affecting your ability to function in your daily life, talk to your doctor of chiropractic about assessing your need for custom foot orthotics. This may be the next step towards getting back to a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Shoe Orthotics for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Jerrilyn A. Cambron, DC, MPH, PhD; Jennifer M. Dexheimer, BS, LMT; Manuel Duarte, DC, MSAc, DABCO, DACBSP; Sally Freels, MS, PhD.