Chiropractic for Back Pain

A Treatment That Stands Up

In a recent Canadian national survey, it was reported that patients increasingly choose and prefer chiropractic care for the common and often disabling symptoms of low back pain.  1500 Canadians aged 18 and over were interviewed to examine the extent to which Canadians suffer from back pain, the action that they take to relieve their complaints and the level of satisfaction with various therapies.

The survey revealed that over 70% of adults experienced some form of upper or lower back pain (including shoulders) in the last two years.  It also found the most popular choice for those who consulted a health care practitioner for back pain was a Doctor of Chiropractic care.  There was a much higher patient satisfaction level for chiropractic care than any other treatment.  Over 90% were satisfied with their treatment from a chiropractor compared to just over 40% for medical and physiotherapy care and just over 30% for medication.  Massage therapy also scored very well.  All of these numbers are consistent with a previous U.S. national survey.

Quite simply, in regards to the management of back pain, chiropractic outperforms all other forms of care.  Pran Manga, a world renowned researcher, and a group of health economists from the University of Ottawa in a comprehensive, government funded report titled “The Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-back Pain” found that there is an overwhelming case in favour of much greater use of chiropractic services in the management of low back pain.

Some may feel and have possibly been advised that their back pain will resolve on its own without any treatment in a month or so.  This statement is wrong.  In a recent study consisting of 463 patients with back pain in a general medical practice, only 21% had recovered at three months and only 25% had recovered at 12 months.  Of those that were physically disabled by pain at the first visit only 18% had recovered at 12 months.  Where no treatment was given 62% of patients still experienced pain after 12 months.  The chance of having a new episode of back pain is more than twice as high if you have experienced back pain before. You may get over your current problem but it will take more time without effective treatment and over time you will be more likely to lapse into a chronic pain and disability scenario.

In terms of personal and societal disruption as well as financial burden, back pain is enormous.  Spinal related problems accounts for 30-50% of paid visits to health care practitioners under Medicare in British Columbia.  Over 90% of back pain, including sprains and strains, including the normal wear and tear of life, is caused by joint restrictions.  The traditional medical management of back pain such as rest and medication such as ibuprofen, advil, aspirin or naproxin for instance is old hat and we now know is not effective.  Rest is inappropriate and is also harmful physically and mentally.  Chronic or long-term use of anti-inflammatory medication carries a risk of death in 1out of 1200 persons.  The only solution is early treatment to restore normal joint mobility and introduction of early activity.

The quickest and most effective way to restore normal joint mobility is through chiropractic manipulation of the affected joints in your back.