Back pain can be a very expensive health issue both for patients and businesses. According to a 2012 study, about $635 billion is spent on pain management yearly, and a huge part of it is spent on the treatment of back pain.
In recent times, some back-pain studies have revealed that using a chiropractor for back pain is more effective than regular medical care. Also, chiropractic patients don’t spend as much as other medical patients on their care.
Back pain – An Overview
Problems such as lower back pain, back aches, disc pain and poor posture have been shown to benefit from chiropractic or manual therapy. No two cases of lower back pain are the same. Here is why:
- Back-pains can be caused by poor posture habits over a long period of time. Think about how you sit during the day. Are you slumped over a computer? Is your head always looking down at a screen?
- It may be caused by irritation of the nerve root due to disc herniation or a misalignment of your vertebrae.
- Strained back muscles, injury or muscle/tendon tears may cause restriction in movement and subsequent pain and discomfort
- Worn out discs and joints, both with age or injury, may lead to back pain
Back pain study
Because back pains have become so rampant, a group of researchers from Canada have recently conducted an investigation into the role of the primary caregiver on financial compensation.
This back-pain study was quite large comprising of 5,511 patients undergoing job-related back problems in Ontario, Canada. For their first visit, the patients were treated by the following providers:
- 85.3% were attended to by a medical doctor
- 11.4% were attended to by a chiropractor
- 3.2% were attended to by a physical therapist
The aim was to look at the duration of financial compensation for back pain faced by patients in each group.
The study revealed that patients undergoing chiropractic care received compensation for the pain they suffered faster. They were also less likely to suffer from recurrence of pain.
In addition, at the end of the session, chiropractic patients did not require the services of other health care providers for the treatment of their pain.
75% of chiropractic patients did not see any other provider, while 58.6% of the patients that undertook physical therapy had to seek the services of a medical doctor.
The conclusion of the authors was that the type of healthcare provided determined how much money they would spend in addressing their back pain concern. Those patients who tried chiropractic care experienced a shorter financial commitment (i.e. cost less) compared to those patients who tried physiotherapy (i.e. cost more).
Why is back pain such a burden?
Dr. Ian Deitch (Chiropractor) writes on his website that back-pain affects around 80% of the community. With back pain being so common in the community, surely it is time to rethink our approach to how we deal with this massive issue. The point is also made that many published health guidelines recommend chiropractic as a form of patient treatment for back pain cases. Not only is the lower back pain a problem, people also suffer from middle back pains.
Common ways to treat back pains
There are many ways you can alleviate the pain of an injured back. Consider these approaches:
- Regular stretching and activation of your muscles, especially your lower back, leg and core muscles
- Nutritional supplements, such as magnesium to prevent cramps, to loosen up your muscles
- Physical therapy such as chiropractic, remedial massage or acupuncture
- Posture improvements such as how you sit during the day, raising the height of your computer screen and ergonomic friendly office furniture
- Use ice packs if your pain causes considerable discomfort: ice soothes pain and reduces inflammation
- Being active and living a healthy lifestyle should help minimise the chances you suffer from back pain
- Back Pain Study: 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.