International Chiropractors Association

Palmer College research team earns prestigious international award for large-scale military research study

Low-back pain is the most common cause of disability worldwide, but it’s even more prevalent in active-duty military personnel. More than 50 percent of all diagnoses resulting in disability discharges from the military—across all armed services—are due to musculoskeletal conditions. Of these, low-back pain is the most common.

To address this widespread problem, the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research at Palmer College of Chiropractic collaborated with the RAND Corporation and the Samueli Institute to conduct a large-scale, multi-site clinical trial studying the effectiveness of chiropractic care for active-duty military personnel with low-back pain. This study was one of three included as part of a $7.4 million, seven-year grant from the Department of Defense to these three institutions. 

This is the largest randomized controlled trial to focus exclusively on chiropractic care to date. “Assessment of chiropractic treatment for active-duty, U.S. military personnel with low back pain: a randomized controlled trial (ACT I)” is completed and currently being prepared for publication. The study included 750 participants across three military treatment facilities in the U.S, and compared 375 participants who received medical care only to 375 who received medical care plus chiropractic care. 

This project was awarded the prestigious Scott Haldeman Award for Outstanding Research by the World Federation of Chiropractic at the March 16-18 "DC2017" conference in Washington, D.C.

“We’re deeply honored to be recognized by our scientific peers for our research efforts in the military,” said Palmer College of Chiropractic Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., who accepted the award on behalf of co-authors Cynthia Long, Ph.D., Robert Vining, D.C., Katherine Pohlman, D.C., M.S., Joan Walter, J.D., P.A., and Ian Coulter, Ph.D., and other members of the ACT I team.

The winner of the Scott Haldeman Award for Outstanding Research was selected from all abstracts accepted for platform presentation at the DC2017 conference that haven’t been previously published. The presentations were judged on the content of the abstract and its platform presentation. Once the winning presentation has received “in press” status in a journal, the researchers will be awarded a $10,000 prize.

For more information, contact:  Lori Leipold, public relations manager, Palmer College of Chiropractic; phone (563) 884-5726; email