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Posted on 05-18-2015

Chiropractic Care Offers Faster Back Pain Recovery Than Medical Care

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my clinical hours treating patient with back pain, it is not uncommon for patients to see me after they have seen their family medical provider. Typically these patients present for care to their PCPs office with a complaint of back pain. These patients are usually prescribed some combination of rest, activity modification (i.e. no lifting, bending, twisting), pain relievers such as ibuprofen, and maybe some muscle relaxers. When these remedies fail to bring about resolution of the lower back pain, these clients usually present to my office for evaluation and treatment recommendations. In some other instances patients with lower back pain in Baltimore either do not have a primary care doctor to see, or are in so much pain that they do not want to wait several weeks to get into their doctor to see them, so they just come to my office in pain.

Regardless of how a client gets to my office, the vast majority suffer from back pain. Regardless of how they go about feeling better, one thing is true: patients want to feel better quickly and they want to feel better now!

Recent research out of the journal Spine in December 2014 seems to indicate that patients that undergo spinal manipulation therapy had the best outcome compared to patients who either underwent "mechanical assisted manipulation" or "usual medical care."

This study was a randomized control trial that set to compare to approach of manual-thrust manipulation vs. mechanical assisted manipulation vs. usual medical care to see what impact these approaches had on patient's pain and disability levels.

Each of the first two groups underwent a series of 8 total treatments (2 visits per week for four weeks) and the medical care group saw their provider a series of 3 times. The study followed participants' self reported levels of pain and disability at the beginning of the study, immediately after their fourth week of treatment, and then again at three and six months following the termination of their treatment.

While research was quick to point out that all three groups saw improvement in pain an disability levels, it was found that the first group, the manual-thrust manipulation group (aka the chiropractic manipulation group) saw the greatest reduction in pain and disability levels at the end of care.

This study is important to me for two main reasons. First, it backs up what I tell my patients, which is that for mechanical lower back pain chiropractic spinal manipulation is incredibly successful. Secondly, and most importantly, it confirms that healing is a process that takes time. Even though spinal manipulation beat the other methods of back pain relief, notice that it still took 4 weeks of treatment to reach the outcome. Often I see patients who discontinue treatment after 2 or 3 treatments because "it isn't working" and I assure them that healing is a process that takes time. This study also seems to suggest that patients should expect to see results within about 3-4 weeks. After that period any patient that is not improving may want to consider referrals to other specialists for second opinions and future treatment recommendations.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from lower back pain, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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