Many of us have probably experienced back pain at some point in our
life. But imagine being on active duty with the United States military
and having a back ache with no immediate relief in sight.
Dr. Michael Seffinger, an associate professor in the osteopathic
manipulation medicine department of COMP, is set to work with other
researchers to find a solution. He will do this as part of a pilot study,
scheduled to begin in the fall at Fort Benning, Ga.
He was awarded a $174,206 grant from the Samueli Institute for
Informational Biology for his research, which is part of the
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research for Military Operations
and Healthcare (MIL-CAM) program.
Dr. Seffinger says he and researchers from University California,
Irvine and UCLA are striving to discover which combination of treatments
already being offered to military active duty military personnel is most
effective for acute low back pain.
The goal of the study, which will compare standard medical care with
or without spinal manipulation, is to find out which of these treatments
will result in decreased pain with movement, faster recovery from
functional limitations, and quicker return to work.
“”Treating lower back pain has become a priority for the military
because a high rate of young recruits report lower back pain following
basic training,”” he says. “”We want to be able to get them fit and back to
duty as quickly as possible.””
According to Dr. Seffinger, there have yet to be any studies of
people in their 20s who are well-conditioned physically and suffer from
lower back pain.
He adds that this first-of-a-kind clinical trial also has
implications for the general public, which often doesn’t receive
manipulation until the problem becomes chronic six weeks later.
“”The question is whether manipulation should be used sooner than
later,”” he says. “”We believe the early treatment is important.””