Back pain affects almost everyone at
some time, causing restricted movement and untold misery, stress and discomfort. It also causes millions of people to take valuable
time off work, costing companies enormous sums in sick pay and lost production.
What causes back pain?
Poor lifting or
incorrect carrying of heavy weights
· Poor posture
· Unsuitable seats or
· Sports or other
· General wear
In 1999 The Royal College of General Practitioners updated their guidelines for the treatment of acute low back pain. The main points from these guidelines relevant to chiropractors are:
· Not to recommend the use of bed rest as a treatment method, as it is not as effective as alternative treatments for pain relief and likely to make back pain worse.
· Early intervention is essential for effective management and full recovery.
· Spinal manipulation is recommended for patients who are failing to return to normal activities.
Do Medical Treatments and Surgery help?
The Chiropractic Approach
What did the Government Studies reveal?
Low back pain sufferers have received very good news lately. Major government studies from the US, Canada and UK have reaffirmed what chiropractic patients have been telling their friends with back pain for years: Why dont you see my chiropractor? Youll probably get better much faster than from drugs or surgery- and its safer too.
What the British Researchers found
In 1991 the Medical Research Council sent shockwaves through the health care system when a definite public pronouncement established chiropractic as one of the preferred and most effective methods of care for acute adult low back pain. "Chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile long term benefits in comparison with hospital out patient management". "If all these patients were referred for chiropractic instead of hospital treatment, the annual cost would be about four million pounds. Our results suggest that there might be a reduction of some 290,000 days in sickness absence during 2 years, saving about 13 million in output and 2.9 million in social security payments". British Medical Journal, June 2nd 1990
A panel of medical experts spent 2.5 years reviewing nearly 4,000 studies and reported that expensive tests (MRI, CAT scans) and therapies typically used to diagnose and treat acute lower back pain (ice, heat, massage, diathermy) are largely useless. Instead the experts recommended the non-drug chiropractic approach: The therapeutic objectives of manipulation include symptomatic relief and functional improvement.[iv]
What Canadian Researchers Found
The Manga Report was commissioned by the government of Ontario in Canada. Leading economists found that chiropractic care for patients with low back pain is superior to medical care in terms of safely, scientific evidence of effectiveness, cost and patient satisfaction.
higher satisfaction levels expressed by patients of chiropractors
overwhelming case in favour of much greater use of chiropractic services in the management
of low-back pain.
should be a shift in policy to encourage and prefer chiropractic services for most
patients with low-back pain
a very good case can be made for making chiropractors the
gatekeepers for management of low-back pain in the workers compensation
The Facts speak for themseleves
studies that have been done by medical physicians comparing chiropractic care with medical
care and physical therapy non-surgical care of the back and neck show that doctors of
chiropractic relieve chronic and severe pain, both immediate and long term, in one half
the time it takes medical physicians not trained in chiropractic
controlled empirical studies can and have been conducted. There are not in excess of 60 scientific studies which demonstrate the value of
manipulation is a most effective and cost-effective from of treatment
for dysfunctional problems in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spines.
For patients with acute low back symptoms without radiculopathy, the scientific evidence suggests spinal manipulation is effective in reducing pain and perhaps speeding recovery within the first month of symptoms.[vi]
Chiropractic is better for you ?
Studies have shown chiropractic works better, is safer and less costly than standard medicine for lower back complaints.
are the results so overwhelmingly in favour of chiropractic? Because painkillers, muscle relaxers, ValiumTM,
braces, physical therapy and surgery are not designed to correct vertebral subluxation. Chiropractic is!
[i] Report of the CSAG Committee on Back Pain, May 1994
[ii] Acute low back problems in adults, Clinical Practice Guideline No 14. US Dept of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, Maryland, Dec 1994.
[iii] Ibid. p30.
[v] Manga, P et al. The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic management of low-back pain. University of Ottawa, Canada: Pran Manga and Associates, 1993.
[vi] Kirkaldy-Willis, W H. American Back Society Newletter, Spirnt 1989, 5(2).