Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Say Goodbye to Low Back Pain With Regular Chiropractic Care

Posted by Dr. Gray on Friday, April 10, 2009

It is estimated that in the United States, the annual costs associated with the treatment of low back pain (LBP) total approximately $100 billion. High recurrence rates and chronic disability are believed to play a large role in the overall cost of back pain, and studies have shown that only a fraction of LBP patients remain pain free and recover completely, even one year after the problem first occurred.

In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, two separate groups of patients were treated with chiropractic care for the resolution of lower back pain. One group was treated for one month only, and then checked nine months later. The other group was treated with chiropractic care for one month, and then with periodic maintenance-style chiropractic care for the next nine months.

Although both groups showed significant decreases in lower back pain scores after the first set of treatments, the group that received maintenance care fared much better by the end of the study. Disability scores in the group that received maintenance care were significant lower after the ten month trial period. However, in the group that did not receive maintenance care, disability scores gradually returned to pretreatment levels.

Based on these results, it is clear that regular chiropractic care not only helps reduce LBP and disability associated with LBP, but that continued chiropractic treatment following the acute treatment phase assists in keeping pain from recurring.

I am often asked whether regular maintenance or supportive care is “really necessary.” My honest answer to this is, “No. It’s not necessary... but, it is advisable.” Relief from complaints lasts longer, and there are fewer incidences of recurrence. As this study shows, there is a significant benefit in time lost from work and daily activities if you engage in preventative and supportive care. In this economy, the last thing you want to do is miss time from work. Not only do you miss the extra cash when it comes paycheck time, but you also become known as “the guy who misses work due to his back.” When you’re that guy, yours is one of the first jobs on the chopping block. Think about it… 1) Their business is hampered because of your time off work; 2) They’re at more risk for workman’s comp injuries; and 3) Your repetitive condition could lead to increased insurance rates costing everyone more money.

Here is a quote that should give you something to think about: In health care, there is nothing more costly than treatment you don’t need, but take anyway… or the treatment you do need, but don’t.

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