With the statistics showing that 85% of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life, that in any one year 76% of the population will have had back pain, and that at any one point in time the prevalence of lower back pain is 37%, is there any wonder that there is a cafeteria menu of various treatments. Some I would place in the snake venom category, some are innocuous and only a few prove to be beneficial. Of the people who seek professional help for low back pain, only a quarter of these patients will have recovered a year later. This is the single most expensive cause of pain and disability in adults of working age.
In a recent study released in The Spine Journal, 25 of the most commonly used treatments were reviewed for efficacy. Remedies from oral drugs, spinal injections, traction, acupuncture, surgery, massage, exercise, spinal manipulation, and others were evaluated. What the researchers found was that “few of the interventions for lower back pain have been studied through multiple, methodologically sound randomized controlled trials.” There is little if any evidence that many of these therapies have any scientific evidence of effectiveness. Contrast this with what the writers found for spinal manipulation (also known as a spinal adjustment); “there are now more randomized controlled trials examining spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for low back pain than any other intervention.”
Interestingly it was found that spinal manipulation for lower back pain was found to be superior to “usual medical care” and that “high-dose SMT is superior to low-dose SMT for reducing pain in the short term.” They concluded, “The preponderance of the evidence for efficacy, including recent high-quality trials, and the estimated very low risk of serious adverse event support SMT as a viable option for the treatment of chronic low back pain.” Chiropractic care has been researched more than most other interventions, was found to be superior to many of them, nothing else was found to be more effective and chiropractic has an extremely low risk.
There is something amusing about studies such as this one is that the interventions are referred to as “therapies or treatments,” with chiropractic being lumped in a similar manner. However, chiropractic care is far more than just a “treatment” for lower back pain or any other single ailment but is more correctly a full body health discipline. When your spine is maintained with regular adjustments not only is low back pain likely to melt away but other ailments are often relieved too, many times in places that seem unrelated to the spine. The spine affects your entire body, and yes, low back pain often is relieved.