A recent article in a prominent national consumer magazine made the bold claim that we are now experiencing ” a revolution in the treatment of back pain now that research shows that physical therapy, spinal manipulation (Chiropractic) and yoga can help as much as major surgery or drugs – with far fewer risks.” The article goes on to assert that growing research shows that a combination of hands-on therapies and treatments that focus on making the whole person stronger will enable a speedier recovery from existing pain and also prevent future episodes.
My experience from over two decades of practice, confirms that each person responds to pain differently, therefore there is no exact strategy for addressing a painful back that works for everyone. For example, many patients will respond to a painful back with bed rest. This is usually not a good idea. After an initial consultation, I will typically put together a several week or more program that utilizes spinal manipulation along with slow, gentle stretching exercises. Spinal manipulation helps adjust the spine and allow it to move more easily. By loosening up the spine and related stiff joints, freedom of movement is improved and exercises enhance the process. Other treatments such as yoga (stretching), acupuncture and massage may useful complementary treatments. All of these treatments have fewer serious risks than drugs or surgery.
Controlling your pain is an essential part of treatment. I educate all of my patients in proper lifting techniques, daily stretching exercises and related good habits including weight management, to prevent the resumption of pain. A post initial treatment may also include a spinal manipulation/chiropractic maintenance plan. Each plan should be individualized and overseen by a trained professional.