Low back pain: Chiropractic vs medication

Low back pain is the single greatest cause of disability worldwide. The second most common reason for doctor visits. Overall, low back pain costs society more than $100 billion annually. When factoring in lost wages, reduced productivity, and legal and insurance overhead expenses.

Studies regarding the use of spinal manipulation(SM)—a form of treatment offered by doctors of chiropractic—for low back pain are plentiful. Leading to the strong recommendation that SM should be considered as a FIRST course of treatment for low back pain. The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society both recommend SM for patients with low back pain who don’t improve with self-care.

In 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported that SM is an effective treatment option for low back pain – EQUALLY effective as medication in reducing low back and neck pain.

A 2013 study compared SM and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study found that SM was MORE effective than commonly prescribed NSAIDs, for the treatment of low back pain. Patients in the SM group also reported NO adverse side effects. More importantly, a 2015 study found that  NSAID use can actually slow the healing process and even accelerate osteoarthritis and joint deterioration!

Doctors of chiropractic utilize SM as many conditions, including low back pain. More than any other healthcare profession including osteopathy, physical therapy, medical doctors, and others. Chiropractors also combine other synergistic forms of care, such as patient-specific exercise training. This helps patients learn how to self-manage their low back pain, as recurrence is such a common issue.

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