There is overwhelming evidence supporting the effectiveness of chiropractic management for patients with mechanical low back pain.
Research suggests that up to 85% of Australians will experience an episode of back pain during their lives, and at any given time 7% of the adult population is suffering from back pain lasting two weeks or longer.
Back pain is the most frequent and expensive health care condition in the 30-50 year-old age group, and it is the most common cause of disability and absence from work.
Many Australians trust the management of their back pain conditions to a chiropractor.
While some cases of back pain originate from acute injury or trauma, and others from organic conditions, the most common cause of back pain is the result of functional pathology (dysfunction in the spinal joints and supporting muscles), which develops over time. This is evidenced by restricted joint movement, muscle stiffness, muscle weakness, or nerve entrapment.
The accumulation of stress to the joints and muscles is often the result of months or years of poor posture, sitting down for extended periods, incorrect bending and lifting procedures, lack of fitness and flexibility, and poor sleeping habits. Any of these factors on their own or in combination may lead to faulty body mechanics. Failure to restore this loss of function means that any pain relief will be temporary and this ultimately reinforces the chronic pain cycle.
As mentioned above there are various causes of mechanical low-back pain. Your chiropractor will perform a comprehensive history and examination to identify the cause of your pain and and will advise on the management recommended to restore and maintain optimal spinal function.
There are a number of things that you can do to help prevent back pain and assist in maintaining a healthy and flexible spine:
Learn and maintain good posture: Your chiropractor may recommend some ergonomic procedures that should be employed at your home and/or at work.
Exercise regularly: Various cardiovascular, stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed by your chiropractor to decrease pain, increase stability and restore range of motion.
Maintain your optimal body weight: Extra weight places additional strain on your spine and supporting musculature. Good, sensible nutrition and regular exercise will help maintain optimal body weight.
Learn good sleeping habits: Do not sleep on your stomach! Using a good quality supportive pillow and mattress will reduce stress on your spine.
Have a regular adjustment : Remember, daily stresses accumulate. Your chiropractor will generally recommend a check up on a periodic basis depending on the state of your spine, in an attempt to help you to maintain optimum spinal function.
What does the research say?
Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy is particularly beneficial for chronic and severe back pain cases. Meade, T. W (1990). Low back pain of mechanical origin: a randomised comparison of Chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment.BMJ, 300. 1431
A combination of Chiropractic manipulative therapy and traditional medical care is more beneficial as opposed to traditional medical care only for lower back pain. Goetz, C. (2013). Adding Chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute lower back pain: Results of a pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness study. Spine, 38(8); 627 – 634