CF 319: The WHO’s Sources For Opinion On Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Part 8) Today we’re going to talk about The WHO’s Sources For Opinion On Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Part 8).  If you haven’t been following along, the World Health Organization has recommended spinal manipulative therapy for back pain, however, they rated it at very low confidence.

Which is the same rating they gave ultrasound. We know SMT is more effective than that so I went into the recommendations, I found the papers the WHO cited as their references for their rating of SMT, and now I’m covering each and every one of them. We’re doing this every other week and now we’re on Part 8.  Also if you’re following along, you’ll know that a lot of these papers are extremely old compared so newer more impressive and more favorable papers that have emerged in more recent years.

You’ll also, if you’re like me, continue to get more and more certain that there is an agenda in the WHO leadership that keeps SMT from taking its rightful step forward in the treatment of noncomplicated Neuromusculoskeletal issues.  Stick with me, we’ll talk more about it.  But first, here’s that sweet sweet bumper music    

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OK, we are back and you have found the Chiropractic Forward Podcast where we are giving evidence-based chiropractic a little personality and making it profitable. We’re not the stuffy, elitist, pretentious kind of research. We’re research talk over a couple of beers. So grab you a bushel.  I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast. 

I’m so glad you’re spending your time with us learning together.  Chiropractors – I’m hiring at my personal clinic. I need talent, ambition, smarts, personality, and easy to get along with associates. If this is you and Amarillo, TX is your speed, send me an email at If you haven’t yet I have a few things you should do. 

  • Go to Amazon and check our my book called The Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic: A Unique Journey Into The Research. It’s excellent resource for you and is categorized into sections so the information is easy to find and written in a way that is easy to understand for everyone. It’s on Amazon. That’s the Remarkable Truth About Chiropractic by Jeff Williams. 
  • Like our Chiropractic Forward Facebook page, 
  • Join our private Chiropractic Forward Facebook group, and then 
  • Review our podcast on wherever you listen to it 
  • Last thing real quick, we also have an evidence-based brochure and poster store at

You have found yourself smack dab in the middle of Episode #319 Now if you missed last week’s episode, we talked about How Specific Are Adjustments & Nerve Flossing Effectiveness.  Make sure you don’t miss that info. Keep up with the class. 

On the personal end of things…..

As I’ve discussed in recent episodes, my house, meaning my clinic, got in a bad way in 2023 and I believe we are finally on the upswing.  We have slowed down in our new patients because of Google SEO and website companies and changes. I think I’ve corrected that.  We have had inconsistent team culture in the clinic because of constant turnover. I still have work to do here but I feel like we have a more dependable team at the moment than I’ve had in the past 18 months so I’m encouraged.  Speaking of an incredible amount of turnover, our billing has been inconsistent. Inexperienced staff just let rehab and other services walk out the door without getting done. That adds up really fast and shows up in our monthly collections.

Now that my wife is up at the front desk and now that it’s become a focus for us, this is getting under control. Basically, staff knows that their comfort comes secondary to the financial health of the clinic. Meaning, whether we feel like it or not, the patients need to be doing the services we have prescribed them. We’re getting there. That’s not a black and white thing there but we are doing more of the services prescribed than we have been.  We are now on our 4th billing and collections company in the past 5 or 6 years. We just haven’t been able to find a dependable one that just does their damn job. I think we have one now.

They started in November and we hope to see the benefits in the next few weeks. I think we already are.  So, you can see what I’ve been up to. It was a swim or swim option. Not a sink or swim. Sink is never in the list of options. So we’ve been swimming and it’s showing up in progress and that makes this old man happy. 

Now, something I’ve always struggled with is treatment recommendations. I like standardization. I like Being able to tell someone confidently, I need to see you 3x/week for 2 weeks or whatever the recommendation might be. I don’t want to make it up from patient to patient. Standardization is something our profession desperately needs in my opinion.  As my colleague and friend, Dr. Brandon Steele once said in our DACO class…..if you go to the doctor with an ear infection in Dallas, NYC, Chicago, LA, or Seattle, you’re going to always get pretty much the same thing. The Standard for that profession.  If you go to a chiro, you don’t know what the hell you’re going to get.

X-rays for no reason and BAM, bait and switch….now you need 70 visits in one year to fix a curve that 20-year longitudinal studies show doesn’t really mean much of anything. You got a neck problem, bam, you need 50 visits to boost your immunity and make sure all nerve impulses are fully expressed because how can God’s full potential for you be realized if your spine is out of alignment. Yes….true story folks. True story. 

You have back pain, BAM, x-rays show degenerative spurs and if you see me 3x/day for 2 weeks, we’ll reduce the size of those spurs. Yes….true story. And that crew is holding seminars trying to teach crap like that to other suckers in our profession.  Or on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve had pain for 10 years and have a disability associated with it so it’s technically high-impact chronic pain….BAM….you can be fixed in 2 visits with a course of exercises for you to be using at home. 

It’s just not standardized.

So, through my association with Dr. Jay Greenstein from Washington DC and who is a mover and shaker in the industry and who has been active in Clinical Compass, I eventually formulated a standardized treatment protocol for my office that you might find useful as well. It’s really pretty simple. 

If it’s acute or less than 4 weeks in duration, I’ll see the patient 3x/week for 2 weeks. 

If it’s subacute, or between 4 and 12 weeks in duration, I’ll see the patient 2x/week for 3 weeks. 

If it’s chronic, or anything lasting beyond 3 months, I’ll see them 2x/week for 4 weeks. 

At the end of the protocol at each level, acute, subacute, or chronic….if the patient is doing great, we then start to stairstep the frequency out and slowly withdraw from treatment to prevent the return of the injury.

If there is not improvement or the patient gets worse at any time, we will either change treatment and try something different, or we will find a provider that has a better chance at helping the person recover. 

Now, of course, PI patients don’t fit into this schematic well so I use the Quebec Task Force on WAD for them but most of my patients will fit very well into this protocol.  It’s simple. It’s a way to standardize recommendations in my clinic from the owner to any associates. It’s an easy way for associates to get comfortable recommending treatment. And I like it so much that I made a poster out of it that you can find in the Chiropractic Forward private Facebook group.  I’ll send you one here in the US for $55 if you want one.

I’m putting one in my exam room so that when I’m doing the ROF, they’ve already read it and all I have to do is point to it and say, “‘You’re right here, and here is your recommendations. See you on M, W, and F.” Alright, good to go on all that, let’s hop in. 

Item #1 Our first one that the WHO used to keep the chiros down today is called, “Effectiveness of Exercise Therapy and Manipulation on Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: A Randomized Controlled Trial” by Nejati et. Al. published in Pain Physician in January of 2019. Not new, not old. Remember, the citations can be found at under this episode.  Nejati P, Safarcherati A, Karimi F. Effectiveness of Exercise Therapy and Manipulation on Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Physician. 2019 Jan;22(1):53-61. PMID: 30700068.

Why They Did It The sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) has been found to be the primary culprit for lower back pain (LBP), but it is still overlooked and treated as LBP. There are no guidelines or appropriate therapeutic protocols for SI dysfunction. Thus, there is a need for an effective treatment strategy for SI dysfunction.

Objective: To compare exercise therapy (ET), manipulation therapy (MT), and a combination of the 2 (EMT) in terms of their effectiveness in treating SI dysfunction.

How They Did It Study design: A comparative, prospective, single-blind randomized controlled trial .

Setting: Sports Medicine Department of Rasoul Akram Hospital.

Methods: A total of 51 patients with lower back or buttock pain resulting from SI dysfunction were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 study groups: exercise therapy, manipulation therapy, or a combination of the 2.  The exercise therapy group received posterior innominate self-mobilization, sacroiliac joint stretching, and spinal stabilization exercises.  The manipulation therapy group underwent posterior innominate mobilization and SI Joint manipulation.  Lastly, the combination group received manipulation maneuvers followed by exercise therapy. Pain and disability were assessed at 6, 12, and 24 weeks after the intervention

What They Found All 3 groups demonstrated significant improvement in pain and disability scores compared to the baseline (P < 0.05).  The difference among these therapeutic protocols was found to be a function of time.  At week 6, manipulation therapy showed notable results, but at week 12, the effect of exercise therapy was remarkable.  Finally, at week 24, no significant difference was observed among the study groups. A major limitation of the present study is lack of a control group receiving a type of intervention other than the experimental protocols. Another limitation is the short duration of follow-ups.

Wrap It Up Exercise and manipulation therapy appear to be effective in reducing pain and disability in patients with Si dysfunction. However, the combination of these 2 therapies does not seem to bring about significantly better therapeutic results than either approach implemented separately.

Item #2 The last one today is called, “Spinal manipulation plus laser therapy versus laser therapy alone in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain: a randomized controlled study” by Nambi et. Al published in European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine in December of 2018. Not new, not old.

Nambi G, Kamal W, Es S, Joshi S, Trivedi P. Spinal manipulation plus laser therapy versus laser therapy alone in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain: a randomized controlled study. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2018 Dec;54(6):880-889. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05005-0. Epub 2018 Apr 24. PMID: 29687966.

Why They Did It Low back pain (LBP) is a common musculoskeletal disorder causing pain and disability in most of the countries. In recent years, new approaches such as Spinal manipulation and laser therapy have been considered as an alternative to conventional exercise and also found contradicting results in terms of its effectiveness.

Aim: A study to compare the combined effects of spinal manipulation, Laser and exercise versus Laser and exercise alone in chronic non-specific low back pain (cnLBP).

How They Did It Design: Randomized control study.

Setting: Subjects with cnLBP were treated with spinal manipulation, Laser and exercise in outpatient department for four weeks.

Population: Three hundred and thirty subjects who fulfilled the selection criteria were randomized (1:1:1 ratio) into spinal manip-laser-exercise (N.=110), Laser-Exercise (N.=110) and control group (N.=110).

Methods: The outcome measurements were Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Modified Modified Schober Test (MMST) Roland and Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), Physical Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and Health Related Quality of Life-4 (HRQOL-4).  Baseline and follow-up measurements were measured at 4 weeks, 6 and 12 months by a blinded investigator.

What They Found Three hundred and twenty-six subjects completed the intervention and 304 completed the 12-month follow-up.  Demographic variables show homogeneity between the groups and ANOVA analyses showed significant improvement (P<0.001) in pain reduction (VAS), flexion range of motion (MMST), functional disability (RMDQ), depression status (PHQ-9), and quality of life (HRQOL-4) in spinal manipulation-laser-exercise group compared to the other two groups at one-year follow-up.

Wrap It Up Spinal manipulation combined with laser therapy and conventional exercise is more effective than laser therapy and conventional exercise alone in chronic non-specific low back pain. I mean….isn’t this one by itself enough to raise SMT above that of the level of ‘very low confidence’? That one alone? That randomized controlled trial? No? No wonder so many mistrust the WHO on so many different issues. It makes no sense to me.    Alright, that’s it. Keep on keepin’ on. Keep changing our profession from your corner of the world. The world needs evidence-based, patient-centered practitioners driving the bus. The profession needs us in the ACA and involved in leadership of state associations. So quit griping about the profession if you’re doing nothing to make it better. Get active, get involved, and make it happen. Let’s get to the message. Same as it is every week.

Store Remember the evidence-informed brochures and posters at     

Purchase Dr. Williams’s book, a perfect educational tool and chiropractic research reference for the daily practitioner, from the Amazon store TODAY!

Chiropractic evidence-based products

Integrating Chiropractors

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  The Message I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment rather than chemical treatments like pills and shots. When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show us patients can get good to excellent results for headaches, neck pain, back pain, and joint pain to name just a few. It’s safe and cost-effective can decrease surgeries & disability and we do it through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal hassle to the patient. And, if the patient treats preventatively after initial recovery, we can usually keep it that way while raising the overall level of health!

Key Point: At the end of the day, patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment that offers the least harm. When it comes to non-complicated musculoskeletal complaints…. That’s Chiropractic!

Contact Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show and tell us your suggestions for future episodes.  Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on podcast platforms.  We know how this works by now. If you value something, you have to share it, interact with it, review it, talk about it from time to time, and actively hit a few buttons to support it here and there when asked. It really does make a big difference. 

Connect We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.


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About the Author & Host Dr. Jeff Williams – Fellow of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (FIANM) and Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Professionals (DABFP) – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger    

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