Low Back Pain…The Evidence
If you have had back pain, you have probably tried a few things to feel better. Some of those things can be done on your own, like stretching or taking a supplement. Other options require visiting a practitioner or health care provider. All of the things you’ve tried are probably designed to reduce or eliminate your back pain.
If you have or have had back pain, you also know that some of those things help and some of them do not. Of those things that help, some may help a little while others may help a lot. For some, the back pain goes away, maybe forever! For others, the pain relief is temporary and the pursuit for relief continues.
Of the things you tried that don’t seem to help your back pain, there is no doubt that they have probably helped someone. So why did they not help you?
That’s a great question, one that doesn’t always have a helpful answer.
Many Options…Many Reasons
When it comes to back pain, there are many treatment options and definitely an equal number of reasons why they may or may not work. Keeping it simple can be one way to help navigate those options to a potential back pain solution.
In terms of the evidence, or what the potential scientific approach to treating back pain might be, here is one perspective to consider.
Back pain can be treated with a type of care that has the best statistical chance of helping the person get better. This can also be done in the most cost effective manner. Whether the care is covered by insurance or not, there is always a cost associated with the care.
In other words, treatments that lack effectiveness based on the available evidence, depending on the price, and are more invasive and thereby potentially less safe, should be cautiously considered.
Doctors of Chiropractic are educated and regulated to practice in this specific manner. Their scope of care, what they’re able to do or not do, is firmly grounded in evidence, cost-effectiveness, and always with the patient’s input and best interests in mind.
Based on that scope of practice, or what options a chiropractor may have available to them (and there are many!), there are 3 that help with back pain, or other spine related conditions, as long as there is no other specific underlying health problem (like cancer, infection, etc.).
Those 3 things are spinal manipulative therapy, spinal and overall fitness, and lifestyle advice.
3 Steps to Back Pain Treatment
If you’ve been to a chiropractor, you’re statistically very likely to have had this type of care. You were adjusted, you were given exercises, and you were given advice. It could have been that simple. Did it help? Maybe it did, or maybe it did not. However, it was probably the right thing to do.
As a first option for back pain or another spine related concern, chiropractic is a good choice based on the research and literature. This doesn’t mean that it always works or that there aren’t other options, but as a starting point that is safe, non-invasive, cost-effective, and supported by the evidence, it makes sense.
The other notable quality of chiropractic care is that Doctors of Chiropractic are open to referring patients when necessary. Chiropractic care addresses a very specific component or part of spine health and function that is often involved in back pain, neck pain, headaches, and some other spine problems. If other components are involved with that back pain, or if that back pain problem is now partially or fully outside the scope of chiropractic care, a referral is indicated. Often, cooperative care is not only useful but necessary.
Hence, if you went in a different direction with you back pain treatment, it may now be an option to see a chiropractor. If you tried chiropractic care, but it did not involve those 3 simple components in their most basic way, it could be time to try it again. And if you did try it and you’ve done or are doing those 3 components well, be patient. Many problems take time and some fine tuning or persistence to get better. Finally, based on a good assessment and treatment results so far, it may be time for an appropriate referral.
In all cases, remember that your back pain is unique because it’s happening to you. Having this 3 step approach as a foundation of your care will support your progress to back pain treatment and recovery. From that foundation, your options can be directed and controlled for the better. Everyone’s experience with back pain is different, but most people want the same result. With some effort, each person can pursue being pain-free and enjoy a return to an active life.