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Back Pain

For back pain of mechanical origin, research over the past 20 years has consistently shown chiropractic spinal manipulation, without the use of drugs and surgery to be up to twice as effective as medicine and physiotherapy.

Research shows that for back pain of mechanical origin, chiropractic care is more effective than any other form of treatment. In Victoria (Aust.), a study compared chiropractic and medical management on Workers’ Compensation cases for mechanical lower back pain during 1990-’91.

Chiropractic Treatment is an Economical Choice

Ebrall’s study concluded that chiropractic management was less than half the cost and resulted in only half the number of days and workers off work. Of major significance was the finding that the progression of the injury to a ‘chronic’ state (requiring greater than 90 days off work) was six times lower for chiropractic patients.

A similar study in Utah U.S.A. (1991) on 3062 cases, showed chiropractic management to be ten times cheaper for compensation costs, employees requiring one tenth the number of days off work, compared to medical management.

A two year hospital based study by the British Medical Research Council showed chiropractic to be more effective than physiotherapy and medical treatment for lower back pain of mechanical origin.

In Canada another hospital based study showed 87% of patients disabled by pain for an average of eight years returned to full function with no restrictions for work or other activities when under chiropractic management. Improvement was maintained on re-assessment after twelve months.

Findings from other studies show that chiropractic management of spine related disorders is by far the most effective form of treatment in terms of recovery time, time off work and cost.

Causes of back pain

85% of people suffer back pain at some stage in their life.  Injury may occur from acute trauma such as a car accident or fall.  In many instances it is the result of months or years of accumulated stress from poor posture, work habits, lack of fitness and flexibility, and faulty body mechanics.

With the accumulation of this daily stress it is only logical that chiropractors encourage regular care of the spine. A spinal problem, commonly blamed on muscles, more often irritates nerves. Therefore, pain, numbness, pins and needles or weakness may be felt anywhere in the body; for example the legs.

Problems of the respiratory, gastro-intestinal, urinary and reproductive systems may also arise from interference to their nerve supply from abnormal spinal mechanics (ie.subluxation). Organ malfunction may also refer pain to the back.

Chiropractic approach

On visiting a chiropractor a history and examination will be performed, often including x-rays to assess the condition of your spine.

Areas seemingly unrelated to your back pain may also be examined as the cause may be located elsewhere. If chiropractic care is considered appropriate a course of treatment will be recommended to promote optimal spinal function.

Recommendations will be made about ongoing spinal care, for the maintenance of spinal health and prevention of future problems. An exercise program and advice on ways to decrease spinal stress may be given.

It is up to the patient how they use chiropractic services, either as a band aid measure for an ache or pain, or as a tool to assist optimal health throughout their life.

Remember that daily stresses accumulate. To promote spinal health chiropractors generally recommend a check-up on a periodic basis, depending on the state of a person’s spine.

Tips to Help Prevent Back Pain

The key to decreasing stress on the spine is to have good habits.

  • Posture

Good balance is the primary objective, with the body relaxed when standing, sitting, lying or walking. When working change positions regularly. Take stretch breaks and ensure that your work area suits your needs.

  • Exercise

Regular exercise and stretching is essential for flexibility and strength.

  • Lifting

Use your legs to lift, keep your back straight with the weight close to your body and have your feet well apart.

  • Maintain optimal body weight

Being over-weight increases strain on your spine.

  • Sleeping

Use a good quality, supportive mattress and pillow. Do not sleep on your stomach.

Find out more about Chiropractic and Back Pain.

Find out more about Acupuncture and Back Pain.

References

1. Ebrall PS,(1992), ‘Mechanical Low-Back Pain: A Comparison of Medical and Chiropractic Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme’,Chiro. Jnl. of Aust.. Vol. 22:No. 2, June 1992.
2. Jarvis KB, Phillips RB, Morris EK, (1091), ‘Cost per Case Comparison of Back Injury Claims of Chiropractic versus Medical Management for Conditions with Identical Diagnostis Codes’. Jnl. Occ. Mediclne/Vol 33 No. 81 Aug. 1991.
3. Meade T W, Dyer S et 01(1990) ‘Low Back Pain of Mechanical Orlgln:Randomised Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment’, Br Med J 300:1431-37.
4. Kirkaldy-Willis W H and Cassidy J D(1985) ‘Spinal Manipulation In the Treatment of Low Back Pain’, Can Fam Phys 31 :535-540.
5. Dufty D J(1978), ‘A study of Wisconsin Industrial Back Injury Cases’, University of Wisconsin. Unpublished.
6. Bergeman B.W. Chichoke A J. (1980) ‘Cost Effectiveness of Medical Vs. Chiropractic Treatment of Low Back Injuries’. Jnl Manlp. & Physio!. Ther.
3:143-147.
7. State of Florida Dept. of Labour and Employment Securlty.(1986). 1985 Workers’ compensation injuries- a statistical report’. Tallahassee, FI.
8. Shekelle PG, Adams AH et 01(1991) ‘The Appropriateness of Spinal Manipulation for Lower Back Pain: project Overview and Literature Review’, RAND Santa Monica, California. Monograph No.R-402511-CCR FCER.
9. Wolf C R(1974), ‘Industrial Back Injury’,lnternatlonal Review of Chiroprac¬tic 26:6-7.
10. Commission of Inquiry Into Chiropractic. ‘Chiropractic in New Zealand: Report of the Commission of Inquiry 1979’. Wellington: P D Hasselberg, N.Z. Government Printer, 1979.
11. Klougart N, Nilsson N & Jacobson J(1989), ‘Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 Cases’, J Manip.
Physiol. Ther..12:281-288.

 

If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.

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