Back pain will unfortunately affect most of us at some point in our lives. It can be annoying, it can be disabling. It can affect our energy, our sleep, our moods, our ability to work, our ability to do the things we want to do. When we’re suffering from pain, we’re not at our best.
But what do you do when you have back pain?
What is the best treatment for back pain?
The well known and respected, Consumer Reports, asked the public that very question, “What’s the most effective treatment/therapy for back pain?”
According to their 2011 survey, the most effective treatment for back pain: chiropractic.
Of those surveyed, 65% said chiropractic helped a lot. Prescription medication came in second, with 53% saying it helped a lot. Third was deep tissue massage, with 51% saying it helped a lot. Also, yoga and pilates were rated as very effective by 49% of those involved in this survey. Basically, if you don’t want to take drugs, hands on treatment and exercise was the most effective way to treat back pain.
So to summarize, the five most effective treatments for back pain (with the percent saying it “helped a lot”):
- Chiropractic – 65%
- Prescription medication – 53%
- Deep tissue massage – 51%
- Yoga – 49%
- Pilates – 49%
What were the most utilized therapies? Percent effectiveness, those who said it “helped a lot,” is in brackets:
- Over-the-counter medication – 58% (28%)
- Prescription medication – 38% (53%)
- Chiropractic – 36% (65%)
- Deep tissue massage – 24% (51%)
- Glucosamine/chondroitin – 14 % (12%)
It was interesting to note that even though over-the-counter medication was so ineffective (only 28% said it helped a lot), it was the most popular “treatment” of choice for 58% of those surveyed.
And even though chiropractic was by far the most effective treatment for back pain (65% said it was very effective), only 36% used it.
I imagine this is down to the perception of chiropractic being dangerous, especially here in Quebec. But when we look at the science and the safety statistics, we know that this isn’t the case. Using chiropractic care is far safer than taking medications, and it deals with the underlying cause as opposed merely treating symptoms.
While I don’t have the exact numbers of those using chiropractic in Quebec, I would think it’s quite a low number. It’s a shame when you consider that over half of Canadians (by 2009) are using, or have used chiropractic at some point in their lives. One should note as well, that according to the same survey, “eight-in-ten chiropractic service users are satisfied with their most recent chiropractic care experience.”
Bottom line: you have to find what works for you. Don’t live with pain – find a solution. The longer you ignore back pain, the harder it gets to treat, and the more your body gets used to it as “normal”.