A pilot study to determine the preliminary effects of spinal manipulative therapy on functional dyspepsia in adults
Sweidan, Melanie Jill
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Background Functional dyspepsia is a chronic pain/discomfort centred in the upper abdomen in the absence of any known structural cause. Epidemiological studies have shown that functional dyspepsia is a common complaint affecting all population groups that over time places considerable financial strain on public and private resources due to frequent doctors’ visits and expensive diagnostic procedures. The development of non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical treatments of functional dyspepsia would not only make economic sense but would also provide a means to improve patients’ quality of life in the least invasive way possible. Although not traditionally seen to be within the chiropractic scope of practice, anecdotal evidence suggests that chiropractic care and management may have the ability to alleviate visceral symptomatology. Objectives The purpose of this placebo controlled pilot study was to evaluate the preliminary effects of chiropractic manipulation versus inactive laser in the treatment of adult patients suffering from functional dyspepsia. Due to the small sample size, time and budgetary constraints it was hypothesised that the dyspepsia symptoms of participants treated with active chiropractic manipulation would not respond more favourably to the treatment, nor would these patients experience a greater improvement in terms of quality of life, compared to those participants receiving placebo treatment. Method Thirty participants with pre-diagnosed functional dyspepsia were selected after being screened according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria identified by the researcher. These participants were then divided into two groups using consecutive sampling. Data was collected at the Chiropractic Day Clinic at the Durban University of Technology. Group A received an active chiropractic manipulation using diversified technique to pre-identified levels in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Group B received inactive laser to pre-identified levels in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Both groups received one treatment a week for three weeks. The fourth and final consultation consisted only of data capturing. At each visit both groups of participants filled in three validated questionnaires: The numerical pain rating scale; PAGI-SYM physical symptom assessment; Results Results were statistically analysed using IBM SPSS version 20 and a p value ≤ 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Repeated measures ANOVA testing was used to assess the effect of each of the treatments separately and to assess the comparative effects of the spinal manipulation vs the placebo. Conclusion and Recommendations The gathered results and analysis were statistically insignificant. Clinical improvement in their symptomotology was however noted within both groups over the trial period in terms of treatment received and their perceived quality of life, symptomatology and pain levels. Both groups tended to have reduced pain and discomfort over time, improved: emotional distress, sleep disturbance, food problems, vitality, post-prandial fullness and abdominal pain. This study should be repeated with selected outcome measurements, and perhaps objective outcome measurements, and a larger sample size in order to determine any benefit.