Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine


Chronic Low Back Pain

Schuylkill County, so you have back pain. You are not alone, back pain bothers about 80% of people at some time. But what should be your choice of treatment?  This blog will cover what patients say was effective for their low back pain treatment.

How Did Surgery Fair For Low Back Pain Treatment

In 2009 Consumer Reports Health Rating Center surveyed more than 14,000 subscribers who experienced lower back pain in the past year but never had back surgery. More than half said the pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer. 88% said their back pain recurred throughout the year.

Common interferences were:

Low Back Pain Treatment From The Patients Primary Care Doctor

The most common disappointment was care from their primary care doctor. Many said they were disillusioned because there was little the primary care doctor could do to help.

What Medical Professional Low Back Pain Treatment Helped The Most?

The percentage of people highly (completely or very) satisfied with their low back pain treatments and advice varied by practitioner. Here are the results.

Professional – % Highly satisfied

Doctor of Chiropractic – 59%

Physical therapist – 55%

Acupuncturist – 53%

Physician, specialist – 44%

Physician, primary care 34%

What Low Back Pain Treatment Helped Their Back Pain The Most

In this survey, many of the respondents tried an average of five to six different low back pain treatments over the course of a year. There were 23 different types of treatments tried.

These low back pain sufferers rated hands-on treatment as very helpful.

One third of the low back pain suffers took prescription medication. 70% took over the counter medication. Only 22% said the drugs were helpful.

58% said they wished they had done more exercising to strengthen their backs.

Our View – Low Back Pain Treatment

Most of these patients have chronic back pain with frequent acute flare-ups. This is the first non-medical study that I am aware of to study back pain treatment. These results are not surprising to our patients or us. At Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, we have a Doctor of Chiropractic, a licensed physical therapist, and licensed massage therapists. These are the professionals and treatments that the Consumer Reports respondents reported the most helpful and had the highest satisfaction for their low back pain.

Most back pain has a mechanical cause; drugs do not help improve your body mechanics. Drugs may temporary help decrease the inflammation, if there is inflammation present.

What did surprise us was that 88% of the patients had 5 to 6 episodes a year. That is not typical in our patients. This recurrence rate would seem to indicate that the patients never fixed the cause of their low back pain or they had significant permanent damage.  There can be underlying cause to low back pain that must be identified and fixed to get longer term relief.

My guess is that most never fixed the mechanical back problem that was causing the back pain. I say this because 58% wished they had done more exercising to strengthen their back muscles.

You may believe or you were told you have weak back muscles. But how do you know? Did you ever have your back muscle strength tested and compared to normal?

If not, maybe it is about time you did.

Want To Know More?

Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehab

Dr. David Novatnak

Glee Pascual, Physical Therapist

Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA