Low back pain is a real problem.
Many of my patients first seek my help because of low back pain. Along with neck pain and headaches, low back pain is in the top three reasons people seek the help of a chiropractor. It’s also one of the top five reasons for which people see a G.P. and is a leading cause of disability in Australia.
And it’s not just the pain. Low back pain is one of the top reasons for loss of income due to missed work and is a burden on our Medicare system.
Bottom-line…low back pain is expensive and is a real problem.
What kind of back pain do you suffer?
The two most common forms of low back pain are acute and subacute. Acute means it lasts for less than four weeks and subacute lasts for four to twelve weeks. Most of these cases are caused by “mechanical” problems including muscle spasm, joint locking/misalignment, ligament sprain and gradual breakdown of body parts due to neglect. A very small number of cases will involve a potentially more serious problem such as bulging discs, fractures or choking of the nerves. Even more rare, less than one percent, is the cause due to infection or cancer.
When a patient under my care is suffering acute back pain it is important for me to ask questions and conduct testing to rule out the potentially more serious causes. Fortunately, most of the time, despite the pain being intense, the underlying cause of the patient’s problem is “mechanical” and not the more serious reasons.
A “mecahanical” problem requires a mechanical solution.
The most common form of treatment for low back pain is some type of medication. Paracetamol (e.g. panadol), anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. nurofen and celebrex), opioids (e.g. codeine), muscle relaxants, antidepressants and corticosteroids are just some of the drugs used to treat low back pain in Australia. Some of these drugs carry significant risks. Some of them are simply not helpful for acute or subacute “mechanical” back pain.
You may be surprised to learn that drugs are not included in the recommendations for treating “mechanical” back pain. Researchers have found that for acute and subacute low back pain, the best and safest solutions are not drugs. Instead, they recommend non-drug approaches such as:
- Spinal manipulation (i.e. chiropractic care)
- Heat (superficial application, i.e. heat pack)
First do no harm.
Any professional advice you are given regarding treatment options should always consider the possibility of harm. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for drugs to be recommended as the first-line, and only, treatment option. Even more concerning is when patients are actively discouraged from trying non-drug approaches, such as chiropractic, despite the evidence clearly demonstrating this may be the safer and more effective solution.
Fortunately, there is a growing number of responsible, well-informed practitioners who are providing recommendations or referrals to chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists.
Chiropractic and low back pain.
While many people see a chiropractor for back pain, it is important to realise that pain isn’t our primary focus. Our strategy is to address the underlying spinal problem. We address the “mechanical” problem by helping spinal joints move better (and also improving nervous system function) which revives the self-healing capacity of your body. Symptoms, like low back pain, subside naturally and safely.
Ready to book?
Then simply phone the friendly and helpful team at Border Wellness Centre and they will take care of you.