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An Informative Snapshot of Lower Back Pain (LBP) – A Common Complaint at Mui Chiropractic!

With winter rolling to a close and shoveling winding down, Mui Chiropractic has seen an influx of patients with recurring lower back pain (LBP) associated with long hours of driving to and from vacation, work, and shoveling snow. Our focus at Mui Chiropractic is to not only get our patients better as soon as possible, but to educate them about the causes and preventative measures they can take to avoid pain. This article will attempt to educate our patients in some of the underlying causes of LBP as well as actions patients can take to alleviate such pain.

The most common causes of back pain can be attributed to heavy or physical work, static work postures, lifting, pushing and pulling.3 LBP is experienced by up to 84% of the population and often impacts personal, social, and economic well-being.While no single treatment has been proven to provide instant and complete relief, treatments that proved to be the most useful consisted of a myriad of manual therapy, acupuncture, and proper exercise.1 While LBP is the second leading reason for visits to a physician, only 1% of patients were referred to chiropractors for treatment. General protocols for physicians when treating LBP would be to prescribe over-the-counter pain medication as well as strict bed rest for more than 3 days along with trigger point injections (injections consisting of pain killers into the affected area.

Manual therapy has been listed as one of the most effective ways to alleviate back pain and is used by chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths, and physiatrists to increase range of motion (ROM) as well as to alleviate pain through reducing soft tissue inflammation. Forms of manual therapy can be thought of as any manual application of force to the body in order to improve mobility and in that train of thought; massage therapy can be considered a type of manual therapy. Manual therapy is not limited to massage and manual muscle work but also includes joint and muscle manipulation which provides relief from musculoskeletal pain.  The American College of Physicians along with the American Pain Society, and the UK Evidence report found substantial evidence that chiropractic care can relieve pain for patients who do not improve with regular bed rest and pain killers, and is effective at treating many types of musculoskeletal conditions.2,7 Patients can opt to receive massage as well as stretch themselves with or without outside assistance.

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into acupressure points to relieve pain and has steadily become accepted as a form of pain management through the years. A study done in 2005 showed that acupuncture is more effective for pain relief and functional movement when compared to no treatment or “sham” acupuncture treatments and that acupuncture and dry needling maybe useful when used in conjunction with other therapies for LBP.4 Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and used regularly in traditional Chinese medicine. A 2013 German study on patients undergoing rehabilitation has shown that acupuncture was highly accepted and had positive effects in patients with low back pain5 when compared to patients who underwent the same rehabilitation program.

Patients are encouraged to exercise in order to strengthen stabilization muscles as well as other benefits. Aerobic exercise can drastically lower your incidence of LBP as shown through studies where patients with moderate to severe LBP underwent spinal flexibility, lumbar (low back), and core stabilization exercises exhibited lower levels of disability. The most drastic effector of disability was core

stabilization exercises (planking is a good example). The disability was inferred through the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Index (some patients at Mui Chiropractic may remember filling this out).5

As summer comes to a close, patients should keep in mind that LBP experienced by a vast majority of the population and that LBP is preventable, controllable, and doesn’t need to be a debilitating part of your life7. Mui Chiropractic and Sports Medicine urges patients to seek help whenever you experience any type of LBP no matter how insignificant. Proper nutrition and rest will also aid in any type of pain recovery.  Any questions about this article can be directed towards

Author: Kevin Wu

Reviewed by: Karson Mui D.C., Karen Adams P.T.,D.P.T


Works Cited

1) Maniadakis, N., & Gray A. (2000). The economic burden of back pain in the UK. International      Association for the Study of Pain, 84(1), 95-103.

2) Chou , R., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., et al. (2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals Internal                                 Medicine, 147(7), 478-491. Doi:10.7326/0003-4819-147-7-             200710020-00006.

3) Cox, J. (1999). Low Back Pain: Mechanism, Diagnosis, and Treatment, Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

4) Furlan, A., Van-Tulder, M., Cherkin., D., et al. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain: an updated systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane collaboration. Spine. 30(8), 944-963.

5) Wei, J., Quante, S., Xue, F., et al. (2013). Effectiveness and Acceptance of Acupuncture in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: Results of a Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of Complementary and                     Alternative Medicine.

6) Sung, P. (2013). Disability and back muscle fatigability changes following two therapeutic exercise interventions in participants with recurrent low back pain. Medical Science Monitor. 19, 40-48.

7) Bronfort, G., Haas, M., Evans, R., et al. (2010). Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Journal of Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 18(3), 1-113. Doi:10.1186/1746-    1340-18-3

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