I recently had a conversation with a friend whose significant other was at home because of back pain.
They determined that for every day she was “off work” it was costing the family budget $200 per day.
Last another friend’s lower back pain spiked the day before putting him off work for at least one day, likely more. That will cost his family several hundred dollars.
Even with my help shortening their recovery time back pain is an expensive imposition for both these families.
And that’s just back and neck pain. Can you imagine what the numbers would be like if we included headaches and sciatica?
Back and Neck Pain Unresolved, Despite Billions Spent.
Researchers from the University of Washington, found that USA’s dramatic rise in costs for the diagnosis and treatment of back and neck problems has not led to expected improvements in patient health (Journal of the American Medical Association).(3)
After adjustment for inflation, total estimated medical costs associated with back and neck pain increased by 65% between 1997 and 2005, to about $86 billion a year.
That’s in line with annual expenditures for major conditions, including cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
Yet during the same period, patients reported more disability from back and neck pain, including more depression and physical limitations.
“We did not observe improvements in health outcomes commensurate with the increasing costs over time,” lead researcher Brook I. Martin, MPH, and colleagues wrote.
More Money is Not the Solution.
The report went on to explain that 1 in 4 people with back pain see their family physician for advice.
The problem with that is the most common recommendation is still either medication or referral to a specialist.
Even though for almost 25 years chiropractic management has been a much more cost effective strategy than what medicine has offered.(4,5)
What’s the difference between Spinal Manipulation and Chiropractic Adjustment?
Here are some direct quotes from the British Medical Journal article in 1990, when medical management was compared to chiropractic management.
“The trial was not simply a trial of manipulation but of management” as 84% of the hospital-managed patients had manipulations.”
“Chiropractic treatment should be taken seriously by conventional medicine, which means both doctors and physiotherapists.”
Successful management is more than getting the spine to make noise. The cracking and popping sound that so many people associate with spinal care is not an indication of quality of care.
If you “crank” hard enough on a joint you can make a noise.
The key is specificity and accuracy if you want to correct a spinal issue.
Mobility vs. Spinal Correction
Restoring the range of motion in a joint may offer some temporary relief of symptoms on occasion, but to really solve the back and neck pain dilemma we need to get to the root of the problem.
In fact this study even calls manipulation into question as it showed that 84% of the hospitalized patients received spinal manipulation (to restore mobility in the spinal joints).
It may look and sound the same (manipulation and chiropractic adjustment) but it’s very different. A chiropractic adjustment is specific for correction of spinal alignment, not just moving a joint through its range of motion until it makes a noise.
Getting to the root of your problems is the key.
Correcting the postural and structural problem gets the resistance off the nerve system so your body can heal from the inside.
Chiropractic is addressing the spine AND the nerve system on an entirely different level. Here is Dr. Ken discussing a case of purposeful and specific spinal correction (rather than just the effects of spinal manipulation)
What happens when you fix the posture on the inside?
The biggest reason you have pain is because the spine and posture has shifted and now is causing pressure on the nerves, ligaments and surrounding tissue in your back and neck.
If the pressure is there long enough it will evolve into headaches, sciatica or neuropathy.
By specifically addressing the posture and correcting the structure then your body starts to heal. First through the nerve system then through strengthening the new, corrected posture.
That’s the key difference with proper chiropractic management.
The goal is to release the nerve system to do the healing from the inside, not to try and manipulate the joints in hopes of just a return of motion.
Getting your body healing is different than just getting your body moving.
Those differences may seem subtle, but it is the difference between success or failure in beating your lower back and neck pain. And more importantly, keeping it away even though you continue to sit at your computer, lift at work and experience daily stress.
Take the time to educate yourself on today’s Chiropractic.
I know the dominate world view is still drugs or surgery BUT I am hoping that people will read the available research and make a wise choice to think differently.
I’ve helped thousands of people beat their pain and correct their posture and I know there are chiropractors in your community doing the same thing.
What ever prejudice or fear you have, I encourage you to put it aside and educate yourself about today’s chiropractic. You’ll be glad you did.
Not only will it help you beat your back and neck pain, it will limit your time off work because of pain and keep more in your bank account.
This is defiantly one of those investments that when you spend some money fixing your posture, it will come back to you in better health and cost savings down the road.
Don’t be like the average Canadian that spends more time and money fixing and maintaining their car then they do their bodies.
You can replace your car, but once your body is broken beyond repair you’re stuck.
What you can do from here.
If you are having trouble finding a chiropractor in your area that specializes in postural correction then connect with us.
I really believe that your best health and lifestyle mentor is a great chiropractor.
For 120 years our profession has lead the way in common sense health solutions. And because we’re educated as a doctor we see the landscape very differently than just a therapist or a general practitioner (like the British Journal of Medicine found out in 1990).
A more complete picture.
Not to say there are not great therapists out there AND not so great chiropractors BUT as a general rule because of a chiropractors extensive education and knowledge of pathology, neurology, and whole body physiology you’re likely to get a more complete picture of what you can do to take control of your health.
Again, I’d love to hear your stories and your experience with what we’ve talked about, your comments are what make this a dialogue and a learning experience for all.
So until next time, remember posture and neurology matters; and it’s a key in great health.
- The Lancet editorial review the June 2,1990 British Medical Journal article by Meade: Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment.
- Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment.