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Low Back Pain:

The modern lifestyle has brought more stress to our daily routines. As a result, back problems have become the second most common ailment that brings patients to the doctors' offices-second only to colds.

Most of us do not exercise on a daily basis, and few of us fully relax even when we are not on the move. We may be sitting at a desk or in a car, but the stress within us keeps our muscles in a state of tension.

When we do exercise, too often it is without proper preparation. We go out with great enthusiasm and often literally "break our backs" playing weekend warrior or gardener, or trying to "keep up" in an exercise class. We expect a lot of our spines without giving them the daily attention they need to remain strong and flexible.

Low back pains are what usually brings a patient into the chiropractic office. I have seen simple strains from shoveling or over doing it on the golf course. Then there are those patients that have an all out emergency where they can’t even stand up and show up hunched over and move with assistance. Their pain could be from things like lifting wrong, ignoring pains that have kept coming and going or lifting improperly or simply sneezing.

Back pain is terrible. I couldn’t get out of bed at the age of 27 from a disc injury. Pain can be so sharp you just don’t want to move. Sometimes you will feel it shooting into your leg and may even have numbness associated with it. You need to find relief and fast.

Everyone’s back pain is different and it will vary depending on your past. Some cases do better with ice and others with heat. You can try one of these if you are in unbearable pain, to see if either helps to some degree. Electric stimulation is another great therapy to alleviate symptoms of pain. Both of these together can do wonders.

Other techniques used are flexion distraction, which opens up the spine to reduce disc pressure. Spinal manipulation and rehabilitation have also been found to really be effective in reducing back pains. To make a treatment complete we would need to evaluate your posture when you do your common activities to see if you are making things worses.

  • A Nonsurgical Approach to the Management of Patients With Lumbar Radiculopathy Secondary to Herniated Disk: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study With Follow-Up J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009 (Nov); 32 (9): 723–733. A randomized trial by researchers at an outpatient rehabilitation department in Italy involving 210 patients with chronic, nonspecific low back pain compared the effects of spinal manipulation, physiotherapy and back school. The participants were 210 patients (140 women and 70 men) with chronic, non-specific low back pain, average age 59. Back school and individual physiotherapy were scheduled as 15 1-hour-sessions for 3 weeks. Back school included group exercise and education/ergonomics. Individual physiotherapy included exercise, passive mobilization and soft-tissue treatment. Spinal manipulation included 4-6 20-minute sessions once-a-week. Spinal manipulation provided better short and long-term functional improvement, and more pain relief in the follow-up than either back school or individual physiotherapy.

  • Ben Eliyahu, D.J., "Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical follow-up: study of 27 patients receiving chiropractic care for cervical and lumbar disc herniations", Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1996; Nov-Dec; 19(9): 597-606. Patients with MRI documented and symptomatic cervical and lumbar disc were treated with traction, flexion distraction, spinal manipulation, physiotherapy and exercises. Clinically, 80% had good outcomes and 63% revealed a reduced or completely resorbed disc herniation. Almost 80% were able to return to their regular jobs after care.

  • T.W. Meade, "Low back pain of mechanical origin; randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment", British Medical Journal; Volume 300, June 2, 1990. The British Medical Journal reported in the Meade Study of 781 patients between 18 and 65 with chronic or severe back pain who were treated with chiropractic care or at a hospital outpatient clinic. The comparison determined that chiropractic treatment was more effective for patients with chronic or severe back pain than hospital outpatient management. Two years later a follow up was conducted and the positive effective of chiropractic care were even more evident.

  • Paul G. Shekelle, MD, "Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain", Annals of Internal Medicine October 1992, 117:590-598. Summary: Spinal manipulation was appropriate and beneficial for patients with acute low back pain.

  • W. H. Kirkaldy-Willis, MD & J.D. Cassidy, DC, "Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Low-Back Pain", Can Fam Physician, 1985; 31:535-540. Summary: In depth investigation of clinical and scientific research on manipulative therapy, which has shown there is a scientific basis for treating back pain with manipulation performed by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

  • Phillip S. Ebrall, "Mechanical Low Back Pain: A Comparison of Medical and Chiropractic Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme", Chiropractic Journal of Australia; Volume 22, Number 2, June 1992. Summary: A retrospective study of work-related, low back pain claimants treated by either a chiropractic or medical doctor. Significantly lower number of claimants requiring compensation days, fewer compensation days taken by claimants, less became chronic conditions and lower average payment were found with chiropractic care.

  • In a 377 page report to the House of Representatives, a 2 year The New Zealand Commission of inquiry of chiropractic was presented, which some consider the most comprehensive and detailed independent examination of chiropractic ever completed in the world. "By the end of the inquiry we found ourselves irresistibly and with complete unanimity drawn to the conclusion that modern chiropractic is a soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area."

    The findings were as follows;

    • Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in the detection and correction, by spinal manipulation, of biomechanical disorders of the spine. They perform diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level.
    • Only Doctors of Chiropractic are equipped by their education and properly trained to perform spinal manipulative therapy safely and effectively.
    • The education of today's chiropractor enables him to administer an extensive examination in order to determine if a patient might be better served by medical care or by both medical and chiropractic care.
    • Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving musculoskeletal conditions like low back pain or headaches.
    • In certain instances of visceral and/or organic symptoms chiropractic care has provided relief, but this is unpredictable, and concurrent medical care should be sought for treatment.
    • In the interest of the public and patients, Doctors of Medicine and Chiropractic must work together in full cooperation.