Medical Research Validates Maintenance Care for Low Back Pain By Dr. John White, DC
While 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
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
Machaly, S. Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific
Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine (Phila Pa 1976)
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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...