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Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 Sep;3(5):49-64. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.043.

Integrative therapies for low back pain that include complementary and alternative medicine care: a systematic review.

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Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, United States.


in English, Chinese, Spanish


Systematic review of the literature.


To evaluate whether an integrated approach that includes different Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies combined or CAM therapies combined with conventional medical care is more effective for the management of low back pain (LBP) than single modalities alone.


LBP is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, yet its optimal management is still unresolved.


The PRISMA Statement guidelines were followed. The Cochrane Back Review Group scale was used to rate the quality of the studies found.


Twenty-one studies were found that met the inclusion criteria. The CAM modalities used in the studies included spinal manipulative therapy, acupuncture, exercise therapy, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and a topical ointment. Twenty studies included acupuncture and/or spinal manipulative therapy. Nine high quality studies showed that integrative care was clinically effective for the management of LBP. Spinal manipulative therapy combined with exercise therapy and acupuncture combined with conventional medical care or with exercise therapy appears to be promising approaches to the management of chronic cases of LBP.


There is support in the literature for integrated CAM and conventional medical therapy for the management of chronic LBP. Further research into the integrated management of LBP is clearly needed to provide better guidance for patients and clinicians.


Low back pain; acupuncture; complementary and alternative medicine; integrated care; spinal manipulation; systematic review

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