Low back pain is a common problem that many of us have had at some point. Research shows that about 80% of adults experience low back pain in their lifetime. It's the leading cause of job-related disability and missed work days and according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 25% of adults have had a recent episode.
Men and women are equally affected by Low Back Pain. It can occur abruptly following a specific incident (such as lifting incorrectly), or it can develop slowly over time due to wear and tear on the spine. Studies show a sedentary lifestyle can set the stage for developing Low Back Pain, especially when it’s followed by strenuous weekend workouts.
Although about 80% of acute Low Back Pain (defined as lasting a few days to weeks) resolves with self-care or short-term management, about 20% of those with acute Low Back Pain will still have persistent symptoms after a year. (then termed chronic) So what can be done to manage chronic Low Back Pain and prevent disability?
One study looked specifically at spinal manipulative therapy or SMT (What Chiropractors do) to determine its effectiveness in managing chronic Low Back Pain, which they defined as Low Back Pain that persists for more than six months.
Researchers assigned a group of patients to receive either sham treatment for one month, treatment for one month but no treatment at all after that one month period, or the month of treatment followed by SMT 2x/month for the following nine months.
The researchers found that both groups two and three experienced lower pain and disability than the sham treatment group at the end of the first 30 days. However, only the third group had more improvement with pain and disability at the ten-month evaluation!
Without continued treatment, the second group’s pain scores almost returned back pre-treatment levels. The authors conclude that SMT is effective for chronic nonspecific LBP, but to obtain longer-lasting benefit, patients should continue to receive care on an ongoing basis.
I would add that it would be important to refer to another professional if the cause of the Low Back Pain can't be found.