How Does the Medical Community Treat Low Back Pain?
Hey Charlotte! Welcome to the first series! We will be putting out a new health-related series on a regular basis where we will be over a new health-related topic. In this series we're going to go over low back pain. Specifically in this post, I will be talking about how low back pain is often treated in the medical community. When people have a health-related issue, a symptom or problem, they're often hesitant, they don't really know how the medical community or how different health care providers are going to treat their issue, so they don't know who to go to. Knowing that, we did our research to let you in on the most common ways that the medical community will treat low back pain.
Low back pain is super common. First and foremost, it's the leading cause of disability worldwide. It's one of the leading causes of missing work and it's also the second most common symptom-related reason for seeking care from your Primary Care Physician (PCP). Not only that but it's also very very expensive! It's costing the US $100 Billion/year in lost productivity at work and also health care expenses. So it's pretty obvious that this is a very very common issue and it's extremely important that we know how to treat it effectively and safely.
In the medical community, the number one way that they will treat low back pain is pharmacologically, meaning with drugs. Most often, the drug that they will recommend will be NSAID's (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammtory Drugs). These drugs are anti-inflammatory, meaning that they fight inflammation. Inflammation, by the way, is a natural process that happens in the body when an area is hurt or it's injured. So when there's damage in the low back, there's going to be this inflammation process that the body will naturally undergo which will help to heal the tissue. But the tissue needs to be protected, so the inflammation will have these chemicals that will be released and tell the nerves in that area to send signals to the brain, telling the brain not to move that area to avoid aggravating it anymore so that the healing can happen.
When you take NSAID's, that inflammation is going to come down and therefore those signals are no longer going to be in the body. Because of this, there's a higher risk that there will be further irritation to the tissue because the pain will be reduced. It would be much more efficient to take care of the low back pain in a more natural way and still allow that inflammation to happen. Not to mention, NSAID's also have a lot of common side effects, most commonly being gastrointestinal irritation (things like gastric [stomach] ulcers and gastric bleeding).
Another way that low back pain will be treated in the medical community will be through something called "reassurance." Now, when the medical community uses reassurance, what happens is the doctor will do an initial examination, and during that exam, if there's nothing that's really throwing up any red flags, they're just not really too sure what's going on with it and they don't think it's something serious, then what they'll do is they'll use reassurance, which is a tactic where they'll tell the patient "Hey, I don't think anything super serious is going on here. It'll go away on its own. You can just go home and try to rest it, maybe do a little bit of stretching." They think it'll go away on its own. But we know is that when the actual cause of the issue goes unaddressed, the issue will most often just come right back unless the cause of the issue is actually addressed.
Another way that the medical community often treats low back pain is through something more invasive like surgery or injections. We know that surgery (especially low back surgery) does not have a very high success rate. We have many patients that come to the chiropractor as a last resort. They've come to a chiropractor as a last resort. They've already had low back surgery and it did not work. They were in a tremendous amount of pain before the surgery, which is very very expensive, and they might have felt a little better afterwards, but then once the drugs wore off, they were actually in more pain after the surgery than they were beforehand. Surgery for low back pain is very risky and it's crucial to make sure that you make a very educated decision when making choices about your low back pain treatment, who to go to for help, and what procedures to undergo to get the best and safest results.
Be sure to stay tuned for the next post, where we will go over how we in our office, using our state-of-the-art technology and assessments, are able to discover the root cause of your low back pain and how we're able to get incredible results naturally through corrective chiropractic care!