The Spine Journal has published a systematic review and meta-analysis suggesting that “there is moderate-quality evidence that manipulation and mobilization are likely to reduce pain and improve function for patients with chronic low back pain”. Going further, the authors (Coulter, Crawford, Hurwitz et al) state that “manipulation appears to produce a larger effect than mobilization.” Importantly they also state that “Both therapies appear safe.”
The same edition of the journal publishes a response from O’Keefe, Griffin and O’Sullivan that is critical of the study, saying that they have excluded papers that could have been included; that in 7 of the 9 included studies it would be impossible to determine the contribution of manipulation to the treatment effect; and that the review was not registered in advance. They firmly conclude: “Simply put, we believe the results and conclusions in this review to be inaccurate.”
UK osteopaths can read both articles in full by first logging in to the General Osteopathic Council o zone then revisiting this page.
The paper by Coulter et al is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1529943018300160
The response by O’Keefe, Griffin and O’Sullivan is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1529943018300871