Most of us know that lower back pain afflicts many people. Pain can be classified as acute which is pain lasting less than three months in duration or chronic which is pain lasting more than three months. It is estimated in the United States 25% of all older people suffer from chronic lower back pain. With baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) 51% of all costs (over $10 billion) are due to chronic lower back pain. This article will discuss chronic lower back pain and what can be done to bring about relief of chronic back discomfort.
As a practicing chiropractor of over 38 years, I have treated thousands of patients for lower back pain. Acute lower back pain, which is of short duration, usually responds to chiropractic care rather quickly. A couple visits to a couple weeks of visits usually takes care of the problem.
However, chronic back pain which has existed, episodically or constantly, for a longer period of time, is much different than an acute condition. Chronic back discomfort involves irritated and inflamed tissues such as the spinal and pelvic joints, ligaments, nerves, spinal discs, fascia and muscles.
There is a myriad of treatment options patients face in the treatment of chronic back discomfort. These range from surgery to medication’s to more conservative treatment such as chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Before surgery is attempted most experts agree that a conservative approach is best taken. Medications can be helpful for short term pain relief, but they are not without risk. A research article on this subject published in Scientific American, November 2021, notes: “There is no such thing as a risk free-drug and that goes for most trusted painkillers.” Pharmacologic side effects of back pain medications include gastrointestinal and kidney complications.
Chiropractic care for chronic low back pain relief can be multifaceted. Chiropractic spinal and pelvic adjustments gently and safely help to realign malpositioned joints. This can allow irritated nerves, ligaments and spinal discs to heal. Cold packs applied to the area can help reduce inflammation. Electrical muscle stimulation can bring relief for muscle spasms and pain. A deeper pressure point therapy can help to release constriction and strain of the fascial tissues.
Since chronic back pain has existed in most patients for a longer period of time, correspondingly it may take some treatment time to respond and heal, which may involve weeks or months. It is very important that the patient invest their energy and time to enhance their healing. Treating chronic back pain truly involves teamwork between the doctor and the patient.
Chiropractic care has been a conservative safe effective, source of pain relief for chronic lower back pain for over 125 years. Surely it will continue to play an important role in helping with this pervasive condition.