Back pain is a highly common health complaint that affects most people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the area most often complained about. From prescription medication and self-care practices to surgery, health professionals recommend a wide array of treatments for low back pain, yet the benefits of spinal manipulation therapy are too often overlooked.
Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is sometimes considered a controversial treatment option for low back pain, primarily because it is chiropractors who generally recommend and administer it. It is a frequent misconception that because chiropractors are not medically trained doctors, they are not worthy of trust when it comes to spinal issues.
However, below, we look at the traditional spinal treatment options for low back pain and consider the benefits of opting instead for spinal manipulation under expert chiropractic care.
It is often considered that low back pain can be greatly improved by self-care, meaning practices that people can do to themselves. For example, exercise, applying heat and using a firm mattress are usually some of the first remedies to low back pain suggested by health professionals.
If low back pain persists, pain-relieving medications and massage may be recommended to provide mild-to-moderate relief. If a course of nonsurgical treatments does little to relieve the pain, spinal surgery may be suggested to a patient.
It is ultimately the patient’s decision to have this surgery, and only in extremely rare situations is surgery immediately performed for low back pain.
What surgery means practically, however, is an often-long wait for treatment, a reduction in the patient’s ability to function post-surgery, a potentially invasive surgery with a longer hospital stay, and a lengthy commitment of time to the healing process.
Spinal manipulation is the use of hands or a device by practitioners to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine, with the aim of relieving pain and improving physical function.
Historically, spinal manipulation therapy for acute low back pain has been regarded as the best treatment that can be offered by a chiropractor. When performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, spinal manipulation is safe and holds few side effects except feelings of tiredness and temporary soreness.
Whereas pain-relieving medication may become ineffective as your body becomes accustomed to it – thus risking addiction to painkillers – spinal manipulation is a targeted, bespoke treatment that provides long-lasting relief from low back pain.
Spinal surgery can be invasive, with long waits for treatment and even longer recovery times, but spinal manipulation can be performed in short, comfortable sessions with fewer risks of side effects.