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Degenerative Arthritis
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Low Back Pain
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Low Back Pain

About 85% of the population will experience disabling lower back pain at least once in their lives. The estimated cost of this problem is over $50 billion per year. Low back pain often comes on suddenly and for no apparent reason. The lumbar spine takes an enormous amount of stress in that it connects the upper half of your body to the lower half and is involved in twisting and bending motions between the two. The normal curve in the small of your lower back, called the lumbar lordosis, allows for structural stability. The common cultural activities of forward bending and long hours of sitting put adverse stress to this curve. Postural stresses and /or trauma commonly lead to a mechanical disturbance called subluxation (a spinal bone which loses its normal position and motion leading to nerve irritation). The subluxation leads to stiffness, inflammation, muscle tension/spasm and nerve irritation. Many times a subluxation is incorrectly diagnosed as a sprain or strain because of the muscular pain associated with it. Muscle spasms in the spine are typically a protective mechanism protecting the more vital underlying problem. Long-term subluxation is typified by intermittent painful episodes, and can lead to disc herniations and degenerative arthritis because of progressive wear and tear from abnormal spinal mechanics. Unfortunately, low back pain is commonly addressed from a symptomatic approach (muscle relaxers, pain killers, massage, traction, ultrasound, corticosteroid injections, etc.) rather than addressing the cause by correcting the biomechanical disturbance and making lifestyle modifications.

Chiropractic and Low Back Pain

Even antagonists of chiropractic agree that chiropractic is the choice for low back pain. In 1994, after reviewing a wealth of large scale studies, the federal government made a definitive pronouncement that chiropractic is one of the preferred and most effective treatments for acute adult low back pain. Controlled, scientific studies conducted by medical physicians comparing chiropractic with medical care, physical therapy, and non-surgical therapy for the back show that doctors of chiropractic relieve chronic and severe pain, both immediate and long term, in one half the time it takes medical physicians. Chiropractic aims to address the cause of low back pain rather than just suppress symptoms. 

  • Deyo RA, Description epidemiology of lower back pain and its related medical care in the United States. Spine, 1987, 12(3), pp. 264-268.
  • Low Back Pain, the $50 billion problem. Conference sponsored by the Institute for Low Back Care. Minneapolis, MN: Abbot Northwestern Hospital, Sept. 30, 1982.
  • Manga P, et al., The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. University of Ottawa, Canada: Pran Manga and associates, 1993.
  • Meade TW, Dryer S, et al., Low Back Pain of mechanical origin: Randomized comparison of chiropractic and outpatient treatment. British medical journal, June 1990, 300, pp. 431-437.
  • Acute Low Back Problems in adults. Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, Maryland, Dec. 1994. .