I cannot believe that I find myself writing a blog about low back pain. The interweb is FULL of blog articles about low back pain. Some are very informative/helpful and some are just personal stories or what worked for one person. See, that is the struggle with low back pain – everyone has a story about it and something that worked for them – but may not work for you!
Yes, I realize that low back pain affects 85% of people at some point during their lifetime. Yes, I realize that LBP is the leading cause of chronic pain and disability with a financial cost in the billions of dollars annually. Yes, I realize that some people have had great outcomes from Chiropractic, from pain medication, from inversion tables, from traction. But, can I just be honest for a couple of minutes here? First, let’s agree that we are only talking about nonspecific low back pain – pain that is not attributed directly to a structure in your low back. So, we aren’t going to discuss your grandma’s spinal stenosis. That is a specific cause of low back pain and is treated in a much different way! Okay, back on topic here. I have seen too many patients during my career who have had negative results from chiropractors, medication, inversion tables, and traction. In fact, a Cochrane review of 32 studies clearly shows that traction is not effective for acute, subacute, or chronic low back pain. We can talk about inversion tables if you want to – I have a great story of a patient who I fired from therapy for using an inversion table. I am not saying that inversion tables do not work for some people – it does! But, you have to know what you are dealing with before using an inversion table.
What has been substantially proven in the research and what have I learned is effective treatment for low back pain that significantly resolves the issue and decreases re-occurrence? Manual therapy (hands on treatment), trunk coordination and strengthening and endurance exercises, centralization and directional preference exercises, patient education and counseling, and progressive endurance exercise and fitness activities. Which basically boils down to hands on treatment to decrease pain and normalize movement followed by progression to an independent exercise program. That is what we offer at Physical Therapy for everyBODY. The research proves that it works, my clinical experience tells me it works, and my patients show me it works.
So, can we please not discuss how your friend had amazing results after spending $5000 on a traction regimen at the Chiropractors office? Many thanks!