Low Back Pain

Chiropractic Care

One-third of all disability costs in the United States are related to low back pain. Studies also show that the peak injury occurs is in the group between 45 and 60 years of age, although back pain is also reported by adolescents and by adults of all ages. The estimated cost of this problem in the US is over $50 billion a year.

Medical Treatments and Surgery

The standard medical approach to back pain varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxers, painkillers, rest and physical therapy (such as Low Back Paintraction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs, and cold packs) are sometimes used. These approaches are often found wanting, however. Even bed rest has been found ineffective for a serious form of back and leg pain called sciatica.

If the problem doesn't improve or worsens, then surgery may be performed.

The medical approach is, at times, necessary - even back surgery has a place. But research is revealing that spinal surgery for acute lower back problems should rarely be performed. Many of those who have had back surgery report a recurrence of their symptoms within a year or two of the operation and may return to the operating table. Spinal surgery is currently a very controversial (and costly) approach to low back pain: Over time, most patients with disc herniations recover with or without surgery, so that outcomes after five years are similar when surgical and non-surgical approaches are compared... In the end, the decision to operate on a patient with a lumbar disc herniation usually depends on patient preference rather than necessity.

The Chiropractic Approach

Chiropractors have helped millions of people with low back problems, often saving them from pain, disability, drugs, and surgery. The chiropractor's purpose is to gently and painlessly rebalance and realign your spine to relieve pressure on your nerves, discs, and muscles. Chiropractors have a special term for an area of your spine that is not properly aligned and is causing nerve stress: a vertebral subluxation.

Anyone suffering from a back problem should see a chiropractor to have their spine checked for vertebral subluxations. If present, the chiropractor will gently and painlessly correct the subluxation and release stress on spinal nerves, meninges, discs, and vertebrae.

If a subluxation exists in your body it must be corrected. This could make the difference between a life of ease, health, and comfort, or a life of disease, disability, and pan.

Major government studies from the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand have reaffirmed what chiropractic patients have been telling their friends with back pain for years: Why don't you see my chiropractor? You'll get better much faster than from drugs or surgery - and it's safer, too.

Why are the results so overwhelmingly in favor of chiropractic? Because painkillers, muscle relaxers, Valium, braces, physical therapy, and surgery are not designed to correct vertebral subluxations. Chiropractic is!

A few interesting facts about back pain

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.

  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.1

  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.

  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.

  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.2

  • Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.3

1. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism, and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.

2. This total represents only the more readily identifiable costs for medical care, worker's compensation payments and time lost from work. It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired physical limitations resulting from a back problem and lost employer productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville,

3. In Vallfors B, previously cited.

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