Chronic low back pain – what is the best approach to treatment?

Chronic low back pain – what is the best approach to treatment?

Thursday, March 11, 2021 Chronic low back pain

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is defined as persistent pain that continues beyond a 3-month period. Acute low back pain (ALBP) on the other hand, describes pain that has been present for a period of less than 6 weeks. Symptoms in both chronic and acute low back pain range from a mild occasional ache, to severe and debilitating pain. CLBP is the most expensive cause of pain and disability in adults of working age.

A 2001 Australian study puts the annual cost of back pain at $9.1 billion. $8.1 billion of this comes from indirect costs such as loss of work productivity. The indirect costs of CLBP are greater than for any other condition including headaches and arthritis.

Chiropractors use a range of different techniques to best suit the individual patient with CLBP. The approach is monitored and sometimes changed according to how well a patient responds to care. Over the last 15 years, a number of international guidelines have been produced regarding the care of low back pain. These aim to guide practitioners like chiropractors in caring for such conditions. The guidelines are based on research into manual adjustment techniques such as spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and spinal mobilization (MOB). Some of the finding of such research are as follows:

·         There have been more randomised, controlled trials examining SMT for low back pain than any other intervention.

·         The overall evidence relating to the effectiveness and safety of SMT and MOB, show them to be a good as or better than any other commonly used intervention.

·         SMT combined with strengthening exercise is better than either SMT or exercise alone.

·         Frequent SMT is more effective than infrequent SMT for pain reduction in the short term.

·         Prolonged bed rest will worsen the outcome of CLBP.

·         People with long-standing or severe symptoms will typically develop psychosocial issues related to their CLBP. These people may require counselling to assist them with depression or other issues that may be associated with long term pain.

To get the best results your chiropractor may discuss many issues besides just your pain. The focus is on improving your function and overall wellbeing. Are you breathing correctly? Poor oxygenation reduces cell metabolism and retards healing. Do you sit for too long? Sitting places greater pressure on the low back discs than standing or lying down. Do you have poor core stability? The small deep muscles close to the spine function to support and stabilise the back – they need to contract at the appropriate time and have good endurance.

Today there are many options to choose from when seeking help for CLBP. From acupuncture to Bowen therapy, form yoga to Zen meditation – it would seem different approaches can help different people. While no approach works for all of the people all of the time, it makes sense to start with the options that is most likely to help and is supported by research. Chiropractic care, combined with strengthening exercise, is a great place to start.

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Dr. Steve Hodal is committed to providing high-quality, individualized chiropractic care in a comfortable and relaxed environment. He is dedicated to providing evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each patient’s individual needs, allowing them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Contact us to know more about this disorder or Book Online.