Chiropractic For Low Back Pain Still the Best Choice.
When it comes to treating Low Back Pain, people have options, lots of options. And it’s a good thing because there are so many different causes of low back pain. A study published in the prestigious journal Spine (June 2011) , which I was able to review today, demonstrates great news for the chiropractic profession. If you are seeing a chiropractor for your lower back pain, stay put. If you are not seeing a chiropractor to fix your lower back pain, read on. I have a message you need to read.
The study in Spine looked at 26 other research articles and compared many treatment options and outcomes. They were only interested in the outcomes, meaning, ‘how well did the patient do? Did the pain go away?’ They looked at chiropractic, physical therapy, education (self-help) classes, massage therapy, and medication.
The results were not too surprising. No single group dramatically out performed any other group. All the treatment groups showed improvement. The chiropractic patients got better. So did the massage group, the PT group, and the group using prescription drugs. With the vast reasons for lower back pain, we would expect some treatments to be better suited for certain conditions. The study looked at people who had low back pain for at least 12 weeks. That is a long term low back issue. In my practice, I tend see people who are more in the acute phase, having had the pain a couple of weeks. Trying to fix someone who has had chronic low back pain for 12 weeks is a challenge for any treatment method.
At first glance, one might think that these results do not support the chiropractic position well. But in fact, I am extremely pleased. Chiropractic was as effective at pain reduction as the other groups. Now connect the dots! When we look at other studies and place those results next to these, we get a much better picture. Remember this study only looked at how effective the various treatments types were at pain reduction. They did not look at cost or patient satisfaction. If you were a patient and you had the following options to fix your lower back pain, which would you choose? Remember each as equally effective at getting rid of your pain.
- This option has only a 34% satisfaction
- This option has the highest personal satisfaction rating at 59%.
- This option carries a 52.2% hospitalization rate. Add about $2,000 per hospital day. (An Analysis of Florida Workers’ Compensation Medical Claims for Back Related Injuries. Wolk S. Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, Arlington, VA. – 1988.)
- This option carries a low 20.3% hospitalization rate. Remember to add in the cost per day in the hospital. (Same source)
- This option has only 41% of back pain sufferers returning to work in one week.
- This option has 82% of the patients returning to work after one week. (A Study of Time Loss Back Claims. Portland, OR. Workers’ Compensation Board, State of Oregon, March 1971.)
If you are a smart American consumer, which option would you choose? The pain relief on both options is essentially the same. Option #1 is a lot more expensive, has poor satisfaction results, is more likely to land you in the hospital, and is twice as likely to keep you out of work.
Option #1 is the medical approach. Option #2 is chiropractic. Don’t take my word for it. Follow the links and read the studies. I don’t make this stuff up. This is straight from peer-reviewed medical journals. It is beyond reproach or disputation. Chiropractic treatment for low back pain is the over-all best choice for treating your lower back pain.
With evidence this overwhelming, I am surprised more medical doctors are not sending their lower back pain patients to see a chiropractor. A savvy consumer should ask ‘why not’. Why are the medical doctors holding onto the low back pain patients instead of sending them off to the best over-all choice. I am accountable to my patients to provide the best treatment options based on the best research, and I do exactly that.
Featured image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee and freedigitalphotos.net