Although doctors of chiropractic treat more than just back pain, a large percentage of chiropractic patients visit their doctor looking for relief from this pervasive condition. In fact, 70 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life.
A few interesting facts regarding back pain:
- Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the United States.
- Back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
- Approximately one quarter of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one whole day in the past three months, and 7.6 percent reported at least one episode of severe acute low back pain within a one-year period.
- Low back pain is also very costly: approximately 5 percent of people with back pain disability account for 75 percent of the costs associated with low back pain.
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Approximately 2% of the U.S. work force is compensated for back injuries each year.
- Americans spend at least $50 Billion per year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.
If a person has back pain, what should they do?
If your back pain is not resolving quickly, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Your pain will often result from mechanical problems that your doctor of chiropractic can address. Many chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back pain feel improvement shortly after starting
chiropractic treatment. The relief is often greater after a month of chiropractic treatment than after seeing a family physician.
The chiropractic approach is to find the cause of the pain and treat it directly. This may involve realigning the spine or extremities by chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapy for the muscles and ligaments, rehabilitative exercises, or a combination of these. Sometimes the doctor of chiropractic will suggest exercises or activities to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem. This may provide a long term solution to the condition through prevention.
Tips to Prevent Back Pain
Some back pain is caused by non-preventable factors (traumatic accidents, congenital defects, tumors), but the majority of low back pain is preventable. Suggestions on how you can prevent back pain include:
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Remain active.
- Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
- Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities.
- Maintain proper posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
- Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
- Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
- Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your workstation is ergonomically correct.