If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you will know that low back pain is one of our most blogged topics- and that’s simply because it’s one of the most common conditions we see in the clinic and which we treat day today. Low back pain is perhaps the single most disruptive condition most people will suffer from during their lifetime, but there’s still an awful lot of out of date information on the treatment available out there. This week, let’s look at some recent guidelines on low back pain, and how we can treat it.
Low back pain – The number one source of disability
As a chiropractor, we spend a lot of time helping patients with low back pain, but it’s not just Complete Chiropractic that sees this kind of trend – across the globe, low back pain is a huge issue taking up more and more clinical time each year. In fact, According to The Lancet, low back pain is now the number one source of disability around the world. For most people, this statistic will ring true – If you’ve dealt with low back pain in the past, you understand just how much it can alter your daily life. Even simply standing up straight can feel like an incredibly impossible task.
What causes low back pain?
Your low back is a complex structure made up of 5 bones with spinal discs in between them. These bones act as protection for your spinal cord as it travels down and out the left and right sides between each segment. Supporting this incredible structure is a variety of ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
Most low back pain occurs for a simple reason – because the stress on a particular area of your spine has outweighed your body’s ability to adapt. If the stress on an area is too much, then an injury may occur. The most common low back injuries are sprain and strains and spinal disc bulges or herniations.
In most cases, these injuries can heal pretty quickly with the right care.
What’s the best way to treat low back pain?
Increasingly, research is arguing for a move away from the “bed rest” or “medicate” approach to treating low back pain (and back pain in general). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) can help reduce pain in the short term, but we’re starting to understand that spinal adjustment is probably a better choice in most cases. At least one recent double-blind, randomized, controlled trial found spinal adjustments to be superior to both placebo and NSAID’s in the care of low back pain.
We publish articles on specific studies all the time on our blog, so for lots, more examples just search us for “low back pain”.
The interesting point for today, however, is less about the studies and more about the number of healthcare organisations who are increasingly moving to recommend chiropractic as an effective treatment for low back pain. Indeed, the care provided by chiropractors now ranks at the top of many leading healthcare recommendations for relieving low back pain. Movement-based strategies like spinal adjustments, controlled exercise, and dynamic stretching are a few of the most effective ways to relieve low back issues. Not only are movement-based strategies good for providing fast relief, but emerging research shows that they may be able to offer a preventative effect when continued over time.
The days of taking drugs and medications for back pain as the first line of defence may be coming to an end – prescriptions are now rarely recommended as a first option because of their dangerous side effects and, frankly, lack of results. Instead, today:
- The American College of Physicians supports chiropractic care for the treatment of back pain.
- Both Harvard Health and The Mayo Clinic have published numerous articles highlighting chiropractic and movement-based treatment options for low back pain relief.
- Clinical care guidelines discourage the use of medication for low back pain due to the risks, dangers, and lack of results.
How to prevent low back pain
The best way to reduce your risk of low back pain is by being proactive with your health. Daily movement, dynamic stretching, regular exercise, and spinal adjustments are all important steps you can take to keep your low back in tip-top shape. If you have questions about how you can implement these proactive steps in your daily routine to help reduce your chance of experiencing low back pain, reach out to us today!
 Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain: Evidence, Challenges, and Promising Directions. The Lancet. 2018.
 Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine. 2011.
Spinal High-Velocity Low Amplitude Manipulation in Acute Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Spine. 2013.
 Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Practice Guidelines. The American College of Physicians. 2017.