Management Strategies for Chronic Low Back Pain

Chronic LBP (cLBP) is a BIG problem in our society, accounting for about 33% of work-related disability. So, what is the best management strategy for cLBP?

One study looked at the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) using three groups of patients with cLBP. Each group received either: 1) “sham” spinal manipulation (twelve treatments of sham or “fake” SMT) over a one-month timeframe and then discontinued; 2) “real” SMT (high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust) twelve times during a one-month timeframe and then discontinued; and 3) the SAME as the second group but with additional SMT treatments every other week for nine additional months.

As expected, the first group saw no benefits from sham SMT with the second and third groups reporting similar benefits after one month of care. However, ONLY the third group reported continued benefits at the tenth month. The study concluded that in order to obtain long-term benefits for patients with cLBP, patients should receive maintenance care after an initial intensive care plan. It’s also worth noting that this 2011 study was not only published in the illustrious journal SPINE but it was authored by two medical doctors.

More recent studies have consistently validated that SMT is a safe, effective method of managing cLBP, especially when it is repeated on a maintenance basis.

Doctors of chiropractic also include exercise training for flexibility and core strengthening as standard recommendations in the management of LBP patients, in addition to advice to remain active and avoid prolonged bed rest. If you haven’t utilized chiropractic care for cLBP, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance – the evidence supports it!