Back Pain Is Inevitable, Treatment Is OptionalMedical doctors and chiropractors alike see many people for back pain. Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients are sent to physical therapy. Treatment costs and expenses linked to lost work are high. Billions of dollars are spent each year in the United States on back care alone.
Even though back pain is common, a sure cure or reliable treatment isn't known yet. There simply isn't agreement about how to treat and manage acute or chronic back pain. Studies comparing medical treatment of back pain to chiropractic care and physical therapy programs have come up with the same answer over and over.
There is generally very little difference in the final outcome for all three. Even combinations of these treatment methods don't show any better results. In this study, patients who received medical care alone improved the least. Patients getting just physical therapy had slightly better results at six months than the other groups.
Any differences found in patient wellness after medical, chiropractic, or physical therapy were small. Researchers are back to the drawing board to find a quick and easy cure for back pain.
Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, et al. A Randomized Trial of Medical Care With and Without Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care With and Without Physical Modalities for Patients With Low Back Pain: 6-Month Follow-Up Outcomes From the UCLA Low Back Pain Study. In Spine. October 15, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 20. Pp. 2193-2204.
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