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Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain

Spotlight on Massage and Lower Back Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, lower back pain is the second most common form of chronic pain after headaches. Experts estimate that approximately 80% of Americans will seek help for low back pain at some point during their lives. Public health officials and insurers estimate that Americans spend $50 billion each year on treatments that are often ineffective. The standard treatment for lower back pain is to take muscle relaxants, painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, along with physical therapy and back exercises. However, few medical interventions relieve pain reliably, and continuing to take painkillers on a long-term basis is not advised. Massage, on the other hand, has been found to be an effective way of dealing with back pain on a regular basis.

Treatment for lower back pain accounts for approximately a third of all visits to a massage therapist. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that patients suffering from lower back pain of unknown origin were helped more by massage than by conventional medical treatment. Of 401 total study participants, 133 received traditional medical care with no massage, 132 received structural massage (which addresses particular muscular and skeletal structures that cause pain) and 36 received relaxation massage (a general form of massage, such as Swedish, intended for overall relaxation).

Participants in the massage groups received one hour-long massage once a week for 10 weeks. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the study, then again at 10 weeks, 24 weeks and a year after the beginning of the study to report on their perceived pain. Both kinds of massage groups reported greater pain relief and ease of motion after 10 weeks of treatment than the medical group.

An average of 37% of the patients in the massage groups reported that their pain was almost or completely gone, while only 4% of the usual care group reported similar results. This was also the case at 26 weeks. However, at the one-year mark, the benefits to all groups were about equal. The type of massage used did not seem to matter, with both massage groups experiencing comparable levels of pain relief. The massage groups were less likely to report having used medication for their back pain after the 10 weeks of intervention, and they also reported having spent fewer days in bed and had lost fewer days of work or school than those in the usual care group.

Dr. Richard A. Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland says of the study, “I think this trial is good news in the sense that it suggests that massage is a useful option that helps some substantial fraction of these patients. Like in most other treatments, this is not a slam dunk, and it’s not like a cure, but it’s something that seems to offer a significant benefit for a substantial number of patients.” Deyo sees massage as a way of people being able to break out of the pain-inactivity cycle. He notes, “I don’t see massage as the final solution, I see it as maybe a helpful step toward getting people more active.”

As always, chiropractic care shows the greatest success in the treatment of all types of back pain. We have found that chiropractic care combined with massage can be a very effective option for many of our patients. If you are currently experiencing back pain, be sure to call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander. 406-652-3553

 

Chiropractic Safer than Medical Care for Elderly

Chiropractic Safer than Medical Care for Elderly

Many studies have found that chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment method when dealing with a number of spine-related issues. The American Chiropractic Association even lists a number of research studies on their website that show that it is a valuable treatment method for easing (and sometimes completely resolving) back pain, neck pain, headaches, and more.

While all of this is good news for professionals that practice in the chiropractic field, some researchers wondered if chiropractic was just as safe for elderly patients as it is for younger patients experiencing these types of problems. So, they set out to find the answer, which they did via a retrospective cohort study funded by NIH and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and also which was subsequently printed in Spine upon its completion.

What researchers wanted to discover was whether the relationship between the risk of injury to people 66 years old and older when engaging in chiropractic care was higher than, lower than, or equal to the risk of injury to this same age group after undergoing medical care by their primary care physician. To find their answer, they studied data on Medicare B patients who went to the doctor in 2007 for a neuromusculoskeletal issue, evaluating their risk of injury seven days post-treatment.

They discovered that seniors that received chiropractic care had a 76% lower rate of injury within seven days of treatment when compared to the subjects that met with their primary physician as a result of a neuromusculoskeletal complaint. Researchers also pointed out that they found that males contained within the research group, older study participants, and those with a higher Charlson co-morbidity score were most at risk of injury within the week after acquiring a neuromusculoskeletal issue.

Additionally, certain medical conditions raised the risk of injury, even after chiropractic care. Therefore, chiropractic professionals should consider whether treatment via spinal manipulation is best for “patients with coagulation defects, inflammatory spondylopathy, osteoporosis, aortic aneurysm & dissection, or [those who have engaged in] long term use of anticoagulant therapy” as the increased risk may not be worth the benefits.

Whedon JM, Mackenzie TA, Phillips RB, Lurie JD. Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation. Spine 2014;Dec 9.

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.

Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.

This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:

  • 85.3% saw a medical doctor
  • 11.4% saw a chiropractor
  • 3.2% saw a physical therapist

The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.

The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.

In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.

The authors conclude:

“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”

Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.

Today’s chiropractic news shared from the following website: https://www.chironexus.net/2016/09/chiropractic-patients-recover-faster-spend-less-money/
What Are “Manual Therapies” and How Are They Used?

What Are “Manual Therapies” and How Are They Used?

Manual therapies have been used to treat musculoskeletal disorders for thousands of years. Practitioners around the world—in countries with many different cultural influences and diverse medical traditions—have used their hands to manipulate various parts of the body to stimulate healing. “Manual” literally means “by hand.” Thus, manual therapies consist of healing techniques that use the hands. There are more than two dozen techniques used worldwide. Among the most commonly known are acupressure, chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy, reflexology, Rolfing and shiatsu.

There are also dozens of other, lesser-known manual therapies, including the Bowen technique, cranio-sacral therapy, the Dorn method, manual lymphatic drainage, muscle energy technique, myofascial release, myotherapy, naprapathy and zero balancing. We examine the most common therapies here:

Acupressure

Using the hand, the elbow or various devices, an acupressure practitioner applies a light force on various parts of the body following the patterns found in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. More than half of the scientific studies on acupressure showed that this technique was effective, but some critics have claimed “a significant likelihood of bias.”

Chiropractic

Most chiropractic work involves manipulation of the spine to achieve better vertebral alignment. Lower back pain is perhaps the primary complaint which leads patients to a chiropractor. Chiropractors are expert at treating musculoskeletal conditions without the use of drugs or surgery. Among others, many top athletes swear by their chiropractor’s hands to keep them performing at their best and help them avoid injuries.

Massage Therapy

This is perhaps the oldest of the manual therapies. Massage was (and still is) used in ancient Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and other parts of the world that gave rise to early civilizations. Massage practitioners chiefly use their hands, but also other parts of their body to apply pressure, rolling motions and other techniques to muscles and joints, to stimulate circulation and relax the patient. In today’s high-stress world, massage is proving ever more popular.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy has been used for years as standard treatment for patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions. A physical therapist uses a variety of techniques to help their patients regain function—particularly mobility. Repetitive, assisted motion can help the patient strengthen muscles that have been damaged through injury or disease. Assisting the patient in the performance of targeted exercises can help a patient regain greater range of motion.

Reflexology

A trained reflexologist applies pressure to various parts of the feet, hands or ears to stimulate organs within the body associated with the part to which pressure is being applied. It is a Chinese therapy with a philosophy that is similar to acupuncture—using points on the body to restore energy flow. Although there is not yet much scientific evidence to support its effectiveness, anecdotal evidence shows that patients are happier and more relaxed after treatment.

Rolfing Structural Integration

Rolfing specifically targets the body’s connective tissue to release tension, realign and balance the body. Rolfing techniques involve deep-tissue massage to achieve therapeutic benefits such as better posture and greater freedom of movement, including reducing stress and relieving pain.

Shiatsu

A traditional Japanese therapy, the term Shiatsu means “finger pressure,” but can include palm pressure and other approaches to massage. A Shiatsu practitioner uses touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques on specific points of the body (similar to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine) to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow. Anecdotal evidence shows it to relieve patients of stress, nausea, muscle pain, depression and anxiety.

 

What is a “Pinched Nerve”?

What is a “Pinched Nerve”?

‘Tearing her hair out’ Metaphor or bad hair day

A “pinched nerve” refers to a condition in which a nerve is compressed by surrounding tissue, such as ligament, cartilage, tendon or bone. The term “pinched nerve” is not a standard medical expression, but it’s an intuitive expression that almost anyone will understand.

Nerves radiate from your brain, down your spine and to all other parts of the body. Signals are sent from and to the brain along the nerves, and if a nerve is compressed (“pinched”), it will interfere with proper signal transmission. Usually, this will manifest as pain, not only at the site of compression, but sometimes radiating from that point to surrounding parts of the body. Misalignment of the spine can result in pinched nerves that can give you back pain and even a deadening ache or sensitivity along your arms (cervical radiculopathy) or legs (sciatica).

Any pain of this sort is a warning signal that there is a problem that should be treated right away. Left untreated, pinched nerves can lead to a loss of the protective barrier around the nerves which could generate fluid buildup. And this fluid would create swelling, more pressure, more pain, and possibly scarring. When nerves have been scarred, they may no longer function properly.

Pain isn’t the only indication of a pinched nerve. Sometimes a compressed nerve will generate numbness or tingling, a burning or “pins and needles” sensation, or even weakness during certain activities.

Pinched nerves can occur more often when the following risk factors are involved:

  • Overuse—Repetitive actions such as movements during work or while involved in a hobby or sport.
  • Posture—Bad posture creates more pressure on the spine and the nerves traveling through it.
  • Gender—Women’s carpal tunnels are smaller and are at greater risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis—Inflammation of any kind can compress nerves, especially at the joints.
  • Obesity—Increased body weight can increase pressure on nerves throughout the body.
  • Bone spurs—Bone thickening (from conditions such as osteoarthritis) or trauma can lead to bone spurs that stiffen the spine and narrow the space through which the nerves pass.

Mainstream medicine frequently recommends drugs, including NSAIDs, oral corticosteroids, narcotics (for emergency, short-term pain relief) and steroid injections to treat the symptoms of a pinched nerve. The Mayo Clinic suggests that patients can sometimes recover within a few days or weeks from pinched nerves with rest and additional “conservative treatments.” Other mainstream medical treatments may include physical therapy, a splint to immobilize a limb to give it a bit of rest, or surgery.

A chiropractor specializes in nerve health and non-invasive methods of reducing pain and restoring proper function, including spinal adjustments and other treatments that take the pressure off the nerves without the need for drugs or surgery. Sometimes a single adjustment can lead to immediate relief. In other cases, repeat visits may be required for full recovery. If you or someone you care about is suffering from a pinched nerve, you should know that there are alternatives to drugs and surgery and that chiropractic care has proven effective in treating the source of the problem so it is less likely to recur in the future.

If you would like to be seen by Dr. Oblander for treatment of a pinched nerve or any other ailment, please call our office at 406-652-3553 to schedule an appointment.

 

What is “Referred Pain”?

What is “Referred Pain”?

Billings Chiropractor“Referred pain” can be a perplexing phenomenon for anyone who experiences it. Referred pain is what happens when you feel pain in an area of your body that is not actually the original source of the pain signals. The most common example of referred pain is when pain is felt in the left arm, neck or jaw of a person suffering a heart attack, while they often have no feelings of pain in the chest area itself.

It’s important to note that referred pain is different from radiating pain, in which the pain felt in one area travels down a nerve, causing pain along the length of the nerve. This is often the case with sciatica, where pain originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg.

Researchers are still not exactly sure what causes referred pain. Some experts believe that it is due to a mix-up in nerve messaging. The central nervous system (CNS) is constantly receiving a barrage of different messages from different parts of the body. These messages may get mixed up somewhere along the path between the place where the irritated nerve is signaling and the spinal cord or brain where pain signals are processed. With an extensive network of interconnected sensory nerves that serve the same region of the body, such as the nerves of the lower back, thighs and hips, it may be more common for signals to get mixed up than you might imagine.

Although referred pain is usually felt as painful, it can also cause feelings of numbness, tingling or the sensation of pins and needles. Another example of referred pain is a tension headache, in which headache pain is due to an irritation of the nerves in the neck.

Referred pain tends not to cross sides of the body. In other words, if the pain signals are originating in the liver or gallbladder (which are on the right side of the body), you may feel pain in your right shoulder. If the signals originate in the pancreas (on the left of the body), you may feel pain in your left shoulder, etc.

Chiropractic adjustments can address the source of the referred pain, leading to long-term pain relief. Nerves in the area of the spinal cord that are irritated due to a spinal misalignment (subluxation) can be a cause of referred pain. When your chiropractor adjusts your spine, he or she removes the source of irritation, thus providing relief. Dr. Oblander is a Billings Chiropractor who is very knowledgeable about which tests can be performed to determine the underlying cause of your pain (whether direct or referred), and can treat it accordingly. If you have questions or want to seek chiropractic treatment, be sure to give us a call at Oblander Chiropractic: 406-652-3553.

Good News About the Cost of Chiropractic Care

Good News About the Cost of Chiropractic Care

woman-paying-for-care
woman-paying-for-care

A recent evidence-based report on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for people dealing with low back and neck pain contains some very good news. And it’s good news for three important groups of people—patients who benefit from chiropractic, employers who sponsor health care plans, and insurance companies who manage the costs.

The report is called “Do Chiropractic Physician Services for Treatment of Low Back and Neck Pain Improve the Value of Health Benefit Plans?”. It was prepared for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress by a panel of esteemed medical authors who were tasked with investigating the clinical effectiveness and economic efficiency of today’s chiropractic care.

In their summary, the authors concluded that chiropractic care is “more effective than other modalities in treating low back pain and neck pain.” In terms of cost, they determined that chiropractic care for low back pain, compared with medical physician care, increased annual spending per patient by only $75 per year. For neck pain, there was actually a cost savings – the cost of chiropractic care compared with medical physician care was reduced by $302 per year.

In terms of overall cost-effectiveness, the authors of the report concluded: “When considering effectiveness and cost together, chiropractic physician care for low back and neck pain is highly cost-effective, represents a good value in comparison to medical physician care and to widely accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds.” They also concluded that their cost-savings estimates were likely to be “understated” since their analysis didn’t capture reduced spending on over-the-counter and prescription medications that would have been associated with conventional treatment.

This should indeed be seen as good news by the many Americans who already use chiropractic care to treat their back and neck pain. It should also be considered good news for American employers and health care providers concerned about providing the best value for every dollar in their health benefit plans. But the good news isn’t limited to the US—the researchers found the effectiveness and cost figures also applied in the European Union.

The report authors concluded with an even stronger statement in favor of chiropractic care: “Our findings in combination with existing US studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals suggest that chiropractic care for the treatment of low back and neck pain is likely to achieve equal or better health outcomes at a cost that compares very favorably to most therapies that are routinely covered in US health benefit plans. As a result, the addition of chiropractic coverage for the treatment of low back and neck pain at prices typically payable in US employer-sponsored health benefit plans will likely increase value-for-dollar by improving clinical outcomes and either reducing total spending (neck pain) or increasing total spending (low back pain) by a smaller percentage than clinical outcomes improve.”

 

Good Posture: The “800-Pound Gorilla” of Health and Wellness

Good Posture: The “800-Pound Gorilla” of Health and Wellness

gorilla
gorilla

Good posture isn’t exactly a high priority for many Americans. For millions of us, the number-one priority is working to provide for our families—and sitting all day at a desk is how we achieve that. However, poor posture while sitting at work for many hours every day can actually lead to poor posture while standing the rest of the time—and that’s a more serious problem than one might think.

A Wall Street Journal article entitled “How Bad Sitting Posture at Work Leads to Bad Standing Posture All the Time” talks at length about this phenomenon.  Allston Stubbs, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who treats patients with back or joint pain, puts it this way: “[Posture] is probably the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to health and wellness…  We see the spine and overall skeletal structure being critical to a patient’s functionality and their satisfaction with their life and health care.”

This means that many Americans’ habit of sitting all day with no thought to their posture has severe consequences—without good posture, many people can develop serious neck, shoulder, and back pain, leading to a sharp decline in their quality of life. Sitting all day with poor posture can lead to muscular back pain, herniated discs, and even pinched back nerves.

Poor sitting posture can also cause tension headaches, diminished breathing, and fatigue. It can even make you look older, according to the LA Sentinel. “Never underestimate the beauty and health benefits of good posture. Often poor posture is just a bad habit that is easily corrected. Poor posture not only makes you look older, but could be the first step toward dowager’s hump, double chin, potbelly, and swayback as well as some internal problems too. When a person is hunched over or not standing straight, that person may be perceived as older than they actually are. Good posture is not only beneficial to your body; it also makes you look taller and slimmer. What’s more, good posture can convey self-confidence, which may just be the best accessory you can have.”

Additionally, good posture is essential for a healthy spine. It can reduce or eliminate back (and shoulder and neck) pain, and it can even improve your mood.

However, there are millions of people today who simply have not learned what good posture is—and it’s not standing rigid, with shoulders thrown back, as many may have learned in childhood. Rather, as the WSJ articles says, “Good posture doesn’t just mean standing with the shoulders thrown back. More important is maintaining good alignment, with ears over the shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over the knees and ankles. Body weight should be distributed evenly between the feet.”

While workplace-related posture problems are getting a lot of attention in the media these days, the importance of good sitting posture to office workers’ health is hardly news to the U.S. government. The United States’ Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) offers a number of tips for good sitting posture, including keeping your head in line with your torso as well as keeping your elbows close to your body and your thighs and hips parallel to the floor. OSHA also recommends using a well-padded seat, keeping your shoulders relaxed, and making sure your forearms, wrists and hands are straight and well-aligned.

 

Modern Treatment for Back Pain: Beyond Bed Rest, Pain Pills and Surgery

Modern Treatment for Back Pain: Beyond Bed Rest, Pain Pills and Surgery

chiro_counseling-whiteboard-200-300According to the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Michael S. Wilkes of the Western Journal of Medicine, “Despite a plethora of research intended to guide physicians in their management of back pain, physicians still hold strong non-evidence based beliefs dating back to the 19th century.”  What beliefs is Dr. Wilkes referring to?  He’s talking about the long-held conventional wisdom that says bed rest is one of the best ways to treat back pain.

And it turns out that physicians aren’t the only ones who hold “strong non-evidence based beliefs” about how back pain should be treated.  One study, according to the Daily Mail, found that 35% of people thought bed rest is the best way to handle such aches and pains. The study included 1,000 people from 25–65 years of age.

So why are many doctors so quick to prescribe bed rest?  And why are so many patients inclined to comply?  Simple—pain avoidance.  Certainly our minds are part of the feedback loop in any therapy, especially where intense pain is involved. Dr. Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine has pointed out that the mind’s expectation of pain “can itself cause protective movements to persist for longer than necessary.”  Thus, the tendency to use bed rest as a solution.

The Evidence Against Bed Rest

For most types of back pain, there is powerful evidence that extended bed rest does not help. One study showed that when comparing routine care, bed rest and exercise, bed rest seemed to result in greater intensity of pain, greater disability and more work days lost. Exercise had the most favorable outcome. According to Wilkes, “14 of 18 controlled studies do report that active exercise can improve outcomes.”

Short-term bed rest can be helpful to reduce painful muscle spasms when such spasms are an attempt for the body to limit movement in an injured part of the body.  However, bed rest restricts the spine’s motion and, unlike other body parts, spines require motion in order to get nutrients to stay healthy.  Restricted movement can result in lost strength and can make it harder for the spine to recover.  When the patient is experiencing their most acute back pain, they may need to temporarily change their routine, but the majority of such patients should minimize bed rest and return to their normal routine as soon as possible. Exercise can help produce better results and quicken the healing process.

Part of a Broader Pattern

Unfortunately, the outdated (and ill-advised) bed rest recommendation is part of a broader pattern that some healthcare observers believe they see in the treatment of back pain.  Dr. Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, and a team of researchers have found that many medical doctors ignore expert clinical guidelines when it comes to treating back pain.  And the results aren’t limited to inappropriate guidance about bed rest.  They include unnecessary medical imaging, needless exposure to addictive painkillers and surgeries that are often risky, expensive and ultimately ineffective.

Interestingly, a study published in the September 2014 edition of the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association found that chiropractors, physical therapists and medical doctors have very different rates of adherence to current evidence-based practice guidelines as they relate to treating nonspecific back pain.  Their analysis found that medical doctors follow such guidelines only 52% of the time, compared with 62% for physical therapists and 73% for chiropractic physicians.

Whether you’re suffering from acute or chronic back pain, it’s important to seek out the best evidence-based treatment you can find.  Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating health conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, especially those that involve the back and the neck.  Chiropractic treatment has been shown in studies to be both safe and effective.  Plus, chiropractic patients have consistently reported high levels of satisfaction with the results as well as the experience.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain, there’s help available.  Remember—you have options!  We encourage you to call or visit our office today!

Modern Treatment for Back Pain: Beyond Bed Rest, Pain Pills and Surgery

Modern Treatment for Back Pain: Beyond Bed Rest, Pain Pills and Surgery

chiro_counseling-whiteboard-200-300According to the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Michael S. Wilkes of the Western Journal of Medicine, “Despite a plethora of research intended to guide physicians in their management of back pain, physicians still hold strong non-evidence based beliefs dating back to the 19th century.”  What beliefs is Dr. Wilkes referring to?  He’s talking about the long-held conventional wisdom that says bed rest is one of the best ways to treat back pain.

And it turns out that physicians aren’t the only ones who hold “strong non-evidence based beliefs” about how back pain should be treated.  One study, according to the Daily Mail, found that 35% of people thought bed rest is the best way to handle such aches and pains. The study included 1,000 people from 25–65 years of age.

So why are many doctors so quick to prescribe bed rest?  And why are so many patients inclined to comply?  Simple—pain avoidance.  Certainly our minds are part of the feedback loop in any therapy, especially where intense pain is involved. Dr. Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine has pointed out that the mind’s expectation of pain “can itself cause protective movements to persist for longer than necessary.”  Thus, the tendency to use bed rest as a solution.

The Evidence Against Bed Rest

For most types of back pain, there is powerful evidence that extended bed rest does not help. One study showed that when comparing routine care, bed rest and exercise, bed rest seemed to result in greater intensity of pain, greater disability and more work days lost. Exercise had the most favorable outcome. According to Wilkes, “14 of 18 controlled studies do report that active exercise can improve outcomes.”

Short-term bed rest can be helpful to reduce painful muscle spasms when such spasms are an attempt for the body to limit movement in an injured part of the body.  However, bed rest restricts the spine’s motion and, unlike other body parts, spines require motion in order to get nutrients to stay healthy.  Restricted movement can result in lost strength and can make it harder for the spine to recover.  When the patient is experiencing their most acute back pain, they may need to temporarily change their routine, but the majority of such patients should minimize bed rest and return to their normal routine as soon as possible. Exercise can help produce better results and quicken the healing process.

Part of a Broader Pattern

Unfortunately, the outdated (and ill-advised) bed rest recommendation is part of a broader pattern that some healthcare observers believe they see in the treatment of back pain.  Dr. Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, and a team of researchers have found that many medical doctors ignore expert clinical guidelines when it comes to treating back pain.  And the results aren’t limited to inappropriate guidance about bed rest.  They include unnecessary medical imaging, needless exposure to addictive painkillers and surgeries that are often risky, expensive and ultimately ineffective.

Interestingly, a study published in the September 2014 edition of the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association found that chiropractors, physical therapists and medical doctors have very different rates of adherence to current evidence-based practice guidelines as they relate to treating nonspecific back pain.  Their analysis found that medical doctors follow such guidelines only 52% of the time, compared with 62% for physical therapists and 73% for chiropractic physicians.

Whether you’re suffering from acute or chronic back pain, it’s important to seek out the best evidence-based treatment you can find.  Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating health conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, especially those that involve the back and the neck.  Chiropractic treatment has been shown in studies to be both safe and effective.  Plus, chiropractic patients have consistently reported high levels of satisfaction with the results as well as the experience.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain, there’s help available.  Remember—you have options!  We encourage you to call or visit our office today!