Lower back pain extremely common. Statistics state that from 60 to 80% of the population will be affected by some sort of lower back pain to a greater or lesser extent sometime in their life! In fact, back pain is so common that it is the second most common chief complaint when patients seek care from their doctors.
With that said, it is no surprise that a great deal of the patients that enter my office have some level of back pain. Oftentimes they have already tried the medical approach and do not want to adopt a drug-based treatment plan or found that their pain is persistent even with medication and the exercises their doctors gave them. Many patients inherently feel that their back is “out of place” and that if someone could just help put their spine in a better setting they would experience a great level of relief.
The treatment of lower back pain in my office is much more than involving the alignment of the spine. The whole person needs to be evaluated on a holistic level and the root cause of the lower back pain needs to be determined. Not only should the physical frame/body be evaluated for structural problems, but also the patient’s diet and biochemistry needs to be considered as well as those factors that affect the patient on a daily basis such as their work/home environment, their past accident/injury history, their stress levels and how they handle this stress.
Out of these findings needs to come a tailor-made treatment plan that addresses all the problematic areas found on the history and examination. Spinal adjustments, physiotherapy, dietary/supplemental changes, specific exercises, and lifestyle changes are some of the treatment options that may need to be addressed. Referral to another practitioner may be warranted.
My patients testify to the effectiveness of a holistic treatment plan. But the current research also supports this type of treatment plan. Spinal manipulation (the adjustment) has been one of the most widely and extensively studied forms of treatment for treating acute back pain. It is also one of the most accepted forms of treatment. A comprehensive review performed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality demonstrated that spinal manipulation and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the two most effective treatments for acute low back pain. Of these, only spinal manipulation was found to both relieve pain and restore function. Spinal manipulation also appears to be effective for chronic low back pain.