New research published in the Journal of Pain (a peer-reviewed publication of the American Pain Society) indicates that pain severity during an episode of back pain is correlated with future pain and disability.
The authors of the study write, “After six months, the results showed that baseline pain intensity was associated with a 12 percent higher risk for developing chronic low back pain and patient beliefs that pain would persist conveyed a 4 percent risk increase. After five years, baseline pain intensity yielded a 9 percent increased risk for chronic pain, while believing that pain would persist had increased the risk by 6 percent.”
According to Science Daily: “The authors noted that their research confirms previous studies concluding that baseline pain intensity is a key predictor of future pain and disability.
“Clinically, the study confirms that effective pain relief in the initial management of low-back pain has implications for long-term improvement.”
Based on this research, it is clear that all back pain should be taken seriously and treated appropriately because treating back pain quickly and effectively may help reduce future pain, suffering, and even disability.
What About Preventing Back Pain?
If you want to prevent low back pain, then you must first understand its cause. A 2008 study found that the majority of low back pain (97%) is mechanical in nature. Mechanical low back pain is the general term that refers to any type of back pain caused by injury to the spinal structures (bones, ligaments, and disks, for example).
In other words, if you have low back pain, the odds are the cause is NOT a tumor or anything life-threatening. But… and this is a very big BUT… every case of low back pain should be evaluated by an appropriate physician to rule out non-mechanical causes. This is why chiropractors are trained in differential diagnosis to determine when low back pain is mechanical and when it is something more serious.
What Treatments Help Mechanical Low Back Pain?
Chiropractic has been shown to be both safe and effective for the treatment of mechanical low back pain. For example, a study published back in 1990 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) compared Chiropractic care to hospital outpatient treatment and found: “Chiropractic treatment was more effective than hospital outpatient management, mainly for patients with chronic or severe back pain. A benefit of about 7% points on the Oswestry scale was seen at two years. The benefit of chiropractic treatment became more evident throughout the follow-up period. Secondary outcome measures also showed that chiropractic was more beneficial.”
The study concluded, “For patients with low back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain.”
It is great that Chiropractic care can help low back pain, but the main goal of any treatment should be to get you out of pain AND prevent your pain from coming back.
New research published in Arthritis Care & Research, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology, shows that being engaged in manual tasks involving awkward positions can increase an individual’s risk for a low back injury by up to 800%. Researchers also found that those who are distracted or fatigued while performing physical tasks are also at significantly higher risk for a low back injury.
What’s the Take-Home Message Here?
First, the majority of low back pain is mechanical and can be treated with chiropractic care. Second, many cases of low back pain can be prevented in the first place by avoiding awkward positions, distractions, and fatigue while performing physical activities.
Learning proper posture while sitting can help prevent the abnormal stress and strain that lead to low back pain over time. If you develop low back pain, seek the proper treatment, one that has a proven track record.
Getting the best care to get out of pain as fast as possible is extremely important. Also, make sure your treatment plan includes information on how you can prevent your low back pain from coming back (such as learning proper lifting technique) because relapses are often worse than the original injury.
Study Shows Meditation Helps Brain Function!
A new study by UCLA researchers found that meditation appears to help preserve the brain’s gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons. This is extremely important because at some time in the mid-to-late 20s, the brain begins to decrease in size and can often lose some function.
According to the study, the effects of meditation were greater than expected. Study co-author Dr. Florian Kurth writes, “We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating… Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”
Dr. Kurth warns that this study does not “prove” meditation preserved gray matter in the brain. There are many other factors such as lifestyle and genetics that can have an effect, but the results are promising and hopefully more research will give more definitive answers.