Living with chronic back and leg pain can make each day a struggle, but new research in the field of chiropractic medicine can finally bring relief to long-term sufferers. The prospect of undergoing surgery to deal with chronic back issues is a last resort for many, but these new findings offer hope for non-invasive ways to lessen pain and improve quality of life for patients with persistent lower back pain.
What causes chronic back pain?
There can be several explanations for chronic pain, depending on a patient’s unique history. Often it is the result of an injury sustained long ago, or a condition such as scoliosis. Much of the time, back pain is caused by damage to the ligaments and muscles of the back and will eventually go away with healing and treatment.
However, when pain continues to be an inconvenience, it means a problem with the spine is probably the culprit. One of the most common causes of chronic back pain, particularly in the lower back, is a herniated disc, or a disc between vertebrae that has become displaced. When this occurs, it often causes a condition known as sciatica involving numbness and pain throughout the lower back, legs, and feet. In older adults, back pain can also be a result of osteoarthritis caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage over time. The cause of the pain will affect the course of treatment.
Spinal Manipulation Benefits
When combined with physical therapy, spinal manipulation has been shown in a recent study involving 192 patients to significantly decrease lower back and radiating leg pain. This practice usually involves reducing pain by working with the lumbar spine or sacroiliac joints, as well as related muscle stretching. Patients in the study were involved in a number of sessions of SMT (spinal manipulation therapy) that lasted from ten to twenty minutes in addition to physical therapy exercises designed to increase mobility and alleviate discomfort.
This study, which appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that the addition of chiropractic care was more effective than physical therapy and advice alone over the 12-week period of the study. This suggests that combining these treatments increases their efficacy, leading to more favorable patient outcomes than therapy or chiropractor visits alone.
What to Expect from Chiropractic Treatment
Although the study followed patients throughout as many as twenty chiropractic adjustments, most patients feel relief from their symptoms after fewer visits—often just six to eight. During sessions of spinal manipulation, the chiropractor will apply pressure to the patient’s spine in order to restore functionality and reduce pain.
Usually there will be an initial consultation before manipulation begins, often involving a Q&A session with the patient about the specific pain he or she is experiencing and general medical history. This is to help the chiropractor determine the best course of treatment. Next, the chiropractor will assess the range of motion, muscle tone, and other aspects of the affected area before beginning the manipulation.
To find a customized solution for your chronic back pain, contact Harborside Sport & Spine at (201) 433-1955.