Updated at 2021-01-23 10:24:07 UTC
In my 35-year-old chiropractic practice, I have heard my patients say, many times, that their low back pain "made them feel old." Anyone suffering from back pain can understand and sympathize with that feeling and look forward to the time when back pain relief comes. When the back is bad, it limits us in practically all our activities of daily life. On the contrary, if our back feels good and our health, in general, is good, we can not only function normally but optimally.
Over the decades, there has been an evolution of knowledge about back disorders. This article will review the progression of care based on non-credible and credible evidence for mechanical back pain. You will discuss the many benefits of chiropractic evaluation and treatment in the pursuit of low back pain relief.
Some of the early scholarly publications on back conditions made the misstatement that low back pain was short-lived, self-limiting, and self-resolving. The authorities who made these statements had no scientific research evidence. It was simply an opinion.
Unfortunately, this dogma took root in the perspective of some healthcare professionals, the insurance industry, and government agencies. Despite knowing to the contrary, which will be discussed later in this article, many inaccurate healthcare guidelines detailing the care of painful back conditions persist to this day.
In the mid-1990s, several studies were published in major research journals such as Spine and the British Medical Journal, which were contrary to previous studies. These scientific articles, backed by research and evidence, pointed out that painful back conditions presented as recurring episodes. In other words, patients would have continued on numerous occasions when their back ached with intervals of less or no pain. These studies made it clear that back pain could be a chronic unresolved condition. It was found that over time the recurrences of painful episodes got worse and became a major problem for the individual and society.
The unsuccessful treatment of many health professionals included the use of medications, rest recommendations, exercise programs, and ultimately surgery. Evidence showed that while there may be short-term symptom relief with these regimens, the underlying problem remains for everyone involved.
Today, this ongoing problem has contributed to the United States having an opioid epidemic. Many people addicted to narcotics attribute their addiction to initial prescriptions for opioids for back pain. Furthermore, society spends enormous financial costs on treating back pain.
In the 2000s, research revealed that most back conditions were the result of a specific underlying biomechanical cause. The aforementioned treatment did nothing to correct the biomechanical problem. However, studies revealed an underutilized profession that had successfully treated low back pain for more than 100 years.
The profession of chiropractic focuses on the evaluation and treatment of the cause of most low back pain. Specifically, misalignments and improper movement of the spinal and pelvic joints create back discomfort. By restoring proper movement and alignment of the spine and pelvis, chiropractors can address the underlying cause of back conditions. While other types of care are nonspecific, a chiropractic physician's focus is on correcting the mechanical problem. Without the use of medications or surgery, chiropractors use a chiropractic adjustment to address the exact problem. Chiropractic adjustments are a safe and gentle technique to physically create proper realignment and movement, specifically where it is needed in the spine and/or pelvis.
Numerous research studies confirm that chiropractic is considered the gold standard for back pain relief. This has numerous benefits. Some scientists believe that chiropractic care for low back pain could greatly improve the opioid epidemic in the United States. Studies show that back pain relief also allows people to continue their normal lives by working, attending school, taking care of the house and garden, getting a good night's sleep, and maintaining pleasant family and social relationships.