Can’t seem to get rid of that low back pain? Your chiropractor can help in multiple ways. In fact, a new study suggests custom orthotics (shoe inserts) are an effective treatment option, alone or in combination with chiropractic care, for relieving pain and improving function in patients with chronic low back pain.

Researchers randomized 225 adult subjects with symptomatic LBP for three months or more into three groups for comparison.

Pain and disability were assessed at baseline and re-assessed after six weeks. The shoe orthotic group received custom-made orthotics; the “plus” group received custom orthotics plus chiropractic care (spinal manipulation, hot or cold packs and manual soft-tissue massage); and the “waitlist” group received no intervention until week six of the study, at which time they also received custom orthotics.

After six weeks, shoe orthotic and “plus” patients had experienced significant improvements in pain and function compared to patients receiving no intervention until week six (waitlist group). Comparing the orthotics-only and “plus” groups, the latter achieved greater improvements in function, but similar pain relief as the orthotics-only group.

Perhaps most notably, decreased pain and functional improvement remained significant for up to 12 months in all three groups (even the waitlist group, which received orthotics only at week six), suggesting orthotic intervention, alone or in combination with chiropractic care, can have a lasting impact on chronic LBP. As the authors stated:

“It is noteworthy that for most time points after week 6, the MCID [minimal clinically important difference] data remained relatively stable, with no large decreases in the proportion of subjects who had at least 30% improvement in pain or disability compared with baseline, potentially demonstrating a lasting effect of care with the orthotic treatment.”

Talk to your chiropractor to learn more about how a comprehensive chiropractic care plan including spinal manipulation and custom orthotics can help relieve your low back pain and help minimize the chances it will return.

Source: Cambron JA, et al. Shoe orthotics for the treatment of chronic low back pain: randomized clinical trial. Arch Phys Med Rehab, 2017 (in press).