Chiropractors have always know that correcting the problem is more effective than masking the pain. Science has now caught up with chiropractic!
Low back pain commonly affects 8 out of 10 American adults and it is a condition that often seems to improve with care such as stretching, using ice or heat, and taking pain medications or anti-inflammatories.
However low back pain is often more difficult than it seems either returning with increased frequency and severity over time or just lingering and becoming a chronic issue lasting months or years.
Low-back pain can be debilitating, and with a total annual from lost wages and reduced productivity in the United States that exceeds $100 billion.
Research on spinal manipulation for low-back pain is now showing it to be one of the most effective ways to resolve back pain with less risk of re-injury over time!
In 2007, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society included spinal manipulation as one of several treatment options for physicians to consider when low-back pain does not improve with self-care. 1
In 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report noted that “complementary health therapies, including spinal manipulation, offer additional options to conventional treatments, which often have limited benefit in managing back and neck pain,” and that spinal manipulation was more effective than placebo and equally or more effective than medication in reducing low-back pain intensity. 1
A 2011 review of 26 clinical trials looked at the effectiveness of different treatments, including spinal manipulation, for chronic low-back pain. The authors concluded that spinal manipulation is as effective as other interventions for reducing pain and improving function.1
A 2010 review looked at various manual therapies, such as spinal manipulation and massage, for a range of conditions and found strong evidence that spinal manipulation is effective for chronic low-back pain and moderate evidence of its effectiveness for acute low-back pain.1
Researchers are now investigating whether the effects of spinal manipulation depend on the length and frequency of treatment.
In one study funded by NCCAM that examined long-term effects in more than 600 people with low-back pain, results suggested that chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation was as or more effective as conventional medical care for up to 18 months. 1
Researchers are also exploring how spinal manipulation affects the body. In an NCCAM-funded study of a small group of people with low-back pain, spinal manipulation affected pain perception in specific ways that other therapies (stationary bicycle and low-back extension exercises) did not.
Managing Low-Back Pain
A review of evidence-based clinical guidelines for managing low-back pain resulted in these recommendations for primary care physicians:
- Acute low back pain: These patients may improve on their own and usually should remain active, learn about back pain and self-care options, and consider nondrug therapies, including spinal manipulation, especially if the pain persists longer than 4 weeks.
- Chronic low back pain: Long-term use of opioid drugs usually does NOT improve functioning for patients with chronic low-back pain. Chronic low back pain patients may benefit from nondrug therapies, including spinal manipulation. Most chronic low back pain patients will not become pain free; a realistic outlook focuses on improving function in addition to reducing pain.
The goal of chiropractic treatment is to relieve pain and improve physical function. Please share this information with those who have low back pain and who have never tried chiropractic! Our doctors would love to be able to help more people obtain better quality of life by minimizing their low back pain . . . naturally!
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