This controversial case study, provided here by www.DrFrankGomezBlog.com, was compiled over a 4-year time frame,2780 patients were followed (initial, 2-week, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 month intervals) with questionnaires. Both acute (symptoms 7 weeks) low back pain (LBP) patients were treated using conventional approaches by both the MDs and the DCs.
Treatments from the chiropractors included spinal manipulation, myofacial therapy, an exercise plan, and self-care education. Medical therapies included prescription drugs, an exercise plan, self-care advice.
The study focused on present pain severity and functional disability (activity interference) measured by questionnaires that were mailed to the patients. It was reported that chiropractic was favored over medical treatment in the following areas:
- Pain relief in the first 12 months (more evident in the chronic patients). Chiropractic was the preferred treatment.
- When LBP pain radiated below the knee (more evident in the chronic patients). Chiropractic was the preferred treatment.
- Chronic LBP patients with no leg pain (during the first 3 months). Once again Chiropractic was the preferred treatment.
Back pain affects 85% of Americans every year. Costing companies millions of dollars in lost productivity and lost work time. Since there are so many back pain treatment options available today, it is quite challenging to make an educated decision without a little help. To facilitate that decision, this recent study looking at this very question compared the effectiveness between medical and chiropractic intervention.
However, this study also found that early intervention reduced chronic pain and, at year 3, those acute LBP (Low Back Pain) patients that received early intervention reported fewer days of LBP than those that waited longer for treatment. While both MDs and DCs treatment approaches helped, it’s quite clear from the information reported below that chiropractic treatment should be utilized as the first choice of treatment.
Similar trends favoring chiropractic were seen for disability but were of smaller magnitude. All patient groups saw significant improvement in both pain and disability over the four year study period. Acute patients saw the greatest degree of improvement with many achieving symptom relief after 3 months of care.
Noteworthy, at the 3 year point, ½ to ¾ of all the patients reported at least 30 days of pain during the prior year including those that responded well after early treatment. Also, 19% to 27% of chronic LBP patients noted daily pain during the prior year. This suggests that LBP is more likely to return at times in the future, which many have similarly reported to be true.
These findings support the importance of early intervention by chiropractic physicians makes the most sense for those people struggling with the question of who to see for acute or chronic LBP.
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