A number of factors influence your experience with back pain, from age to work status to family history and psychological health. Ongoing research seeks to determine how these factors affect patient prognosis, or the trajectory of recovery following their first incidence of back pain. For instance, are older adults more likely to respond to one treatment over the other? What about younger adults or people with mental health concerns?
A new study set out to see what role these social and health factors have on patients' responses to conservative treatments. Researchers publishing in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine studied a group of 210 patients with chronic, non-specific low-back pain who were randomly assigned to receive physiotherapy, chiropractic adjustments, or back school (i.e., patient education).
Overall, 76% of patients responded to treatment, but chiropractic patients had the best response rate. While all three interventions significantly improved patient symptoms, chiropractic adjustments produced the most functional recovery and pain relief.
Researchers also discovered that work status, age, quality of life, pain duration, patient beliefs, and other variables did not significantly predict patient response to treatment.
Initial disability scores predicted poor prognosis among patients treated with back school or physiotherapy, but not among chiropractic patients. That meant that spinal adjustments provided significant relief, regardless of initial disability or other clinical characteristics.
The researchers concluded that patients with chronic low-back pain should first consider spinal adjustments when seeking conservative treatment. Often our patients benefit from a combination of chiropractic care and physical therapy, a method shown to be effective in a recent study.
At Oregon Medical Centers, our Aloha/Beaverton chiropractors offer chiropractic adjustments in conjunction with soft tissue therapies and physical therapy. We routinely see how this integrated approach provides the best relief for patients with back pain. Call our office in Aloha, OR for effective treatment of back pain.
Cecchi F, et al. Predictors of functional outcome in patients with chronic low back pain undergoing back school, individual physiotherapy or spinal manipulation. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012; 48: 371-8.