Back and neck pain are two of the most common health complaints affecting people around the world. Recent investigations into back and neck pain let us know the following facts.
1. People usually begin to feel pain in their 20's, but sadly, up to 50% of children also complain of neck or back pain.
2. Up to 30% of people have back or neck pain at any given moment.
3. Up to 80% of all people develop neck or back pain in their lifetime.
4. Most untreated neck and back problems will get worse, often leading to spinal arthritis. “In Australia, arthritis is the most common cause of substantial and severe handicap, with many sufferers requiring help with their activities of daily life” – Arthritis Foundation of Australia.
5. The treatment of neck and back pain is one of the greatest and most inefficient expenditure of health care resources today.
Neck and back pain is such a huge problem that governments from all around the world, in an attempt to help solve this problem, have sponsored leading researchers to find the fastest and most effective treatments for back and neck pain.
The major investigations have been done by the USA, UK and Canadian governments, their aim was to find out the most common causes of neck and back pain and to identify what the best treatment for those problems are. Here is what was found.
1. That there are 3 general types of spinal problems that cause back and neck pain.
(i) Mechanical problems.
(ii) Nerve root pain.
(iii) Serious pathology.
(i) Mechanical: these are problems with the joints, muscles, disks and ligaments of the spell. Here are some of the common types of mechanical problems muscle strains, ligament sprains, increased muscle tension, spinal joint misalignment, abnormal spinal curvatures, disc problems (disc bulges, disc herniation, or “wearing out”), arthritis (spinal degeneration).
Some common signs and symptoms of mechanical problems areaching pains, sharp pains, increased muscle tension and tightness, poor posture, pain usually gets worse with activity, pain is somewhat relieved with rest, the pain can restrict your normal movements.
Mechanical problems have been reported to be the cause of up to 90% of neck and back pain. Most neck and back pain sufferers have a mechanical cause to their pain, and usually they'll have more than on type of problem eg someone with back pain may have muscle tension, spinal misalignments and some arthritis.
In fact, the longer someone has an uncorrected problem the additional problems that they will develop eg someone develops a spinal misalignment, which causes an increase in muscle tension and some abnormal spinal curvatures, then if these problems are left uncorrected, over time, they can cause some wearing out (thinning) of disks and lead to the early development of spinal arthritis.
(ii) Nerve root pain: This is usually due to leaving mechanical problems uncorrected … The pain felt with these problems is characteristically a very sharp, intense “shooting” pain into the arms or legs (eg Sciatica), it is caused by pressure on or irritation of, the spinal nerves. The pressure on the nerves is usually from bulging disks or spinal arthritis (both usually due to unexported mechanical problems). Nerve root pain causes about 10% of neck and back pain.
(iii) Serious pathology: This includes fractures, infections, tumors and others. These causes are, fortunately, quite rare causing less than 1% of back and neck pain.
So, the majority of back and neck pain is caused by mechanical problems and the complications of uncorrected mechanical problems (nerve root pain).
These mechanical spinal problems are usually caused by bad postures, repetitive strain injuries, or by trauma. Risk factors for developing mechanical spinal problems are bad post, bad lifting habits, stressful living and working conditions, a loss of spinal strength and flexibility, a loss of general physical fitness.
USA, UK and Canada government research found the best treatment for most neck and back pain was Chiropractic care. Chiropractic was often found to be the most effective, the safest, the most cost effective, the most successful in the long term and had some of the highest patient satisfaction levels.
The results from scientific studies, from all around the world, done to find the best treatments for neck and back pain:
The “Magna Report,” 1993, this study was done by the government of Ontario, Canada in an attempt to find the most effective for low back pain sufferers, here's what they found.
(i) Chiropractic care was shown to be the most effective treatment for low back pain.
(ii) Chiropractic care was the safest treatment for low back pain.
(iii) That spinal manipulation was best (and most safely) performed by Chiropractors.
(iv) That patients were “very satisfied” with Chiropractic care.
(v) Recommendations for Chiropractic to be fully integrated into the hospital system.
The British Medical Research trial, 1990-1995, this research examined the effectiveness of Chiropractic care compared to the effectiveness of a combination of medical and physiotherapy treatment. This research showed that Chiropractic care produced excellent short and long term results for patients with both acute and chronic pain; and patients with moderate and severe pain. This research showed the superior effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Chiropractic care. The results of this research were endorsed by the British Medical Association.
The “Agency for Health Care Policy and Research,” 1994, a 23 member multidisciplinary (all types of health care professionals) expert panel set up and run by the US government recommended spinal manipulation as an appropriate first line approach to the treatment of most people with acute low back pain.
The “Clinical Standards Advisory Group,” 1994, a 10 member multidisciplinary expert panel set up and run by the UK government found as above that Chiropractic treatment is an appropriate first line approach to the treatment of back pain.
The “Royal college of General Practitioners,” 1996, recommended spinal manipulation as an appropriate first line approach to the treatment of back pain.
Dr William H Kirkaldy – Willis, Orthopedic surgeon, Professor Orthopedic surgery, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Canada, reported after his 40 years of experience and research, that many spinal pain sufferers are greatly benefited from Chiropractic treatment, in fact, in one study he preformed approximately “90% of patients returned to full function with no restrictions for work and other activities,” after Chiropractic treatment.
All across the world, experts are recommend Chiropractic care for people with neck and back pain. If you want to find out if Chiropractic can help your neck or back pain contact your local Chiropractor.