Medical Research Validates Maintenance Care for Low Back Pain 

By Dr. John White, DC
Vancouver Chiropractor - Low Back Pain - Chiropractic Maintenance CareWhile in Chiropractic College our professors would warn us eager, young students anything and everything, no matter how bizarre, will happen to us while in our treatment rooms and clinics through our career.  As a student with my classmates I recall speculating what shape those bizarre events might take and those conversations were usually accompanied by a lot of laughter.  Although I’ve had several interesting and unusual interactions since the beginning of my career, they are few and far between.  On a scale of vanilla to Peanutbuster Parfait I would have to rate it somewhere around Oreo Blizzard.
I can never predict when odd things will happen but when you wake up on a weekday morning as a Chiropractor, there are a couple of things you can bank on:
1.    The Sun will Rise;
2.    And you’ll treat a patient with chronic low back pain.
There are several categories of low back pain including Radicular or nerve root pain, specific spinal pathology and non-specific low back pain.  85% of all low back pain falls into the non-specific category for which 10% is chronic (occurring longer than 6 months).
When a patient shows up at Bayside with chronic low back pain they have usually tried many different therapies in an attempt to find some relief.  In most cases the patient has found some success for short periods of time however their symptoms inevitably return once the patient gets back to his or her old habits.  So what can be done?
Last year the prestigious medical journal Spine published an article concluding that individuals suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain had lower disability, lower pain symptoms and greater low back range of motion if they were treated with regular spinal manipulations. While this is old news for the Chiropractic profession, I am pleased to see that our medical colleagues are catching up.
For several years I have been advocating maintenance care to my patients who suffer from chronic and recurrent low back pain as it has been my observation that those patients that stick to a preventative treatment plan tend to suffer far less than those who only seek care when things get really bad.  It’s great to see these results being studied and published in a prestigious medical journal.
The next obvious question is likely; how frequently do I need to get treated?  In the study I’m referencing the subjects were treated 3 times per week for 1 month followed by twice per month for the 9-month maintenance phase of the treatment program.
Clinically I’ve found the frequency can be reduced even further, however each patient is unique and each patient’s condition requires a unique treatment plan based on the level of dysfunction.
So if you or someone you know is struggling with long standing or recurrent low back pain, make an appointment with Bayside today and get back to being pain free!

Further Study Details

For those of you who are interested in more details I have included two of the figures and a few explanations.
Figure 2 is a graph detailing subjective pain levels of those in the study. The evidence indicates that study participants experienced less pain if the continued to receive spinal adjustments over those who either did not receive adjustments or those who stopped receiving spinal adjustments after one month of treatment.

Control Group: Received core activation training and range of motion exercises
No Maintained SMT Group: Received core activation training, range of motion exercises and spinal manipulative therapy for 1 month
Maintained SMT Group: Received core activation training, range of motion exercises and spinal manipulative training
Figure 3 is a graph from the study indicating the level of disability of the participants as measured by the Oswestry Disability index, which is a series of questions, used to evaluate a patient’s ability to perform daily tasks. A lower score indicates fewer limitations.

For those of you interested in reading the research paper in its entirety, here is the full citation.
Senna, M., Machaly, S. Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2011;36:1427-1437

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Medical Research Validates Maintenance Care for Low Back Pain
While in Chiropractic College our professors would warn us eager, young students anything and everything, no matter how bizarre, will happen...