LOW BACK PAIN
The American Tradition
Low back pain is one of the most common disorders affecting American adults. It is estimated that 75 million Americans will have it each year and that 80% of the adult population will have low back pain at some time.
Low back pain is the most common cause of disability among the 30 to 50 year age group. Because these age groups are usually the most productive in the workforce, the economic impact of low back pain is enormous.
Low back pain patients comprise the second largest diagnostic group seen by medical family practitioners, yet the common treatments recommended by these practitioners are being found to be ineffective. A prominent medical low back pain researcher has suggested that family physicians consider referring these patients for chiropractic care, as it has proven helpful for this disorder.
Low back pain generally is a mechanical disorder which needs suitable treatment. Chiropractic manipulation is just such a method. In the 1985 volume of the medical journal “Canadian Family Physician”, Dr. William Kirkaldy-Willis, professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, reported on a study of chronic low back pain patients. The results of treatment with chiropractic manipulation were so favorable that Dr. Kirkaldy-Willis summarized that those medical doctors who refer their patients for this treatment will provide relief for many who would not otherwise be helped.
Indeed, growing numbers of low back pain sufferers are turning to chiropractic each year and are finding relief. Many people who were frustrated before seeking chiropractic treatment return to an active lifestyle, not restricted by disabling pain. The latest statistics show that about one in three low back patients now see a chiropractor, and the percentage should be much greater. Chiropractic is both a safe and effective way to deal with low back pain, the unwanted American tradition.
LOW BACK PAIN: Chiropractic VS. Medical Care
Which One Shows Better Results
For the approximately 80% of the adult population who will suffer from low back pain at some time, the treatment options can be confusing. Seeing a family doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist or a chiropractor are just some of the choices. Over the past decade, the scientific community has looked at these options in an attempt to find out which type of health care provider can help the most with this common problem.
The most comprehensive research study to date was performed at the Northwick Park Hospital in Great Britain. A large study was undertaken to compare chiropractic treatment with that given in hospital outpatients clinics to 741 patients with low back pain. On almost every measure examined, the patients receiving chiropractic treatment had better results. Chiropractic treatment resulted in a greater reduction of pain levels reported by patients, fewer episodes of return pain over the next two years, and less disability over the test period. Interestingly, patients with the most severe and chronic back pain were most helped by chiropractic treatment.
The only “drawback” to chiropractic treatment was the fact that chiropractors tended to treat patients more often during periods of back pain. The researchers commented, however, that those receiving chiropractic treatment required less care in the future and had less disability, saving even more money. In fact, the researchers suggest that the superior long-term results with chiropractic treatment may be, at least in part, the result of more intense initial treatment programs. Research is proving what many patients have known for a number of years: Chiropractic treatment is more effective than any other type of care for those suffering from low back pain. The moral of the story is simple: see a chiropractor first!