Jul 152012

Journal: Journal of the American Chiropractic Association 2007; Jan-Feb;44(1):7-19

Authors: Hains G, Hains F, Descarreaux M


Objective: The first objective was to determine if chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy and ischemic compression in the upper 2 quadrants of the abdomen resulted in clinically important changes in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in adults. The second objective was to determine if spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) alone, as well as ischemic compression alone, resulted in clinically important changes in GERD symptoms in adults.

Methods: A total of 62 adult patients with mild to severe GERD symptoms were divided into 2 groups. One group of patients received 20 treatments consisting of SMT and myofascial therapy using the ischemic compression technique. A second group of patients was randomly subdivided into 2 treatment groups. The first group received only SMT while the second group received only ischemic compression therapy. After 20 treatments, the SMT group received an additional 20 treatments consisting of ischemic compression. Changes in GERD symptoms were reported by patients in 2 questionnaires. One questionnaire recorded the patient’s symptoms using numeric grading scales. The other gathered data pertaining to the patient’s perceived impact of symptoms on social activities.

Results: Based on the data gathered from both questionnaires, the patients (n=22) in the group receiving SMT and ischemic compression reported an improvement of 39% after 10 treatments, 66% after 20 treatments, 73% at 1-month follow-up, and 57% at 6-month follow-up. Among the subjects receiving only ischemic compression therapy (n=27), improvements in GERD symptoms were reported to be 44% after 10 treatments, 65% after 20 treatments, 63% at 1-month (30 days) follow-up, and 67% at 6-month follow-up. Among patients receiving only SMT (n=13), improvements in the GERD symptoms were reported to be 39% after 10 treatments, 40% after 20 treatments, and 38% at 1-month follow-up. Eight of these patients agreed to then receive an additional 20 treatments consisting of only ischemic compression therapy. Data gathered at the end of the 20 treatments indicated that these patients reported an average of 71% improvement in their GERD symptoms in relation to the baseline.

Conclusions: Considering these findings, we suggest that both SMT and ischemic compression were found to be effective treatments for patients experiencing GERD symptoms, even at 6-month follow-up. Ischemic compression alone was more effective than SMT alone.

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