Palmer, UI Engineering Partner on Chiropractic Research Study

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Researchers at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research and The University of Iowa College of Engineering are looking for more than 200 people with low back pain in the Quad-City community to participate in a unique study. It focuses on the relationship between back pain and possible abnormal function of the supportive muscles in the back. The study begins Jan. 12. Participants must have low back pain and be between 21 and 65 years of age.

This collaborative study between the Palmer Center and the UI is one of three projects that are part of a four-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The four-year grant was awarded to principal investigator Joel Pickar at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in 2007 to continue Palmer’s Developmental Center to Study Mechanisms and Effects of Chiropractic Manipulation. The clinical study beginning on Jan. 12 will help researchers determine whether one effect of chiropractic adjustments is a positive impact on muscle function in the low back.

According to one of the co-leaders on the project, David Wilder, associate professor of biomedical engineering at the UI, "Anyone who has been surprised by back pain resulting from unexpectedly stepping off a curb or from trying to pick up a squirming child in the back seat of a car understands the importance of proper muscle function." Wilder has collaborated with the PCCR for fourteen years, is a faculty member at Palmer and brings to the project thirty years of experience studying the response of the spine and trunk muscles to sitting, vibration and sudden loads.

"We know that the back muscles are very important for movement and stability of the spine," said Palmer Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy Christine Goertz Choate, who is a co-leader for this study. "When people have back pain, it may be caused by problems in the muscles that attach to the vertebra and support the spine. We’re investigating how well people with back pain can control their muscles and whether chiropractic care can have an effect on muscle function. This work will eventually help us understand more about how chiropractic treatments work and ultimately lead to improved care for low back pain"

Potential participants will be examined at the PCCR clinic to determine whether they qualify for the study. If so, they will be randomly assigned to one of three different treatment groups. Members of each group will receive chiropractic care using three different adjusting techniques over a six-week period. At the beginning, middle and end of care, specialized measurements of body stability and muscle control will be taken. All examinations and treatment are provided at no charge to the patient.

Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact the PCCR clinic facility at (563) 884-5188.