Chiropractic Maintenance Care for Chronic Episodic Low Back Pain: What is it and Does it Work?

Back pain is a common and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In Australia, at any given moment, 16% of the population report having back pain. Chronic episodic low back pain is the the particular sub-type of pain that comes and goes in attacks or episodes and many people who suffer such episodes seek help from chiropractors, who offer a variety of treatments such as spinal adjustments, exercise, and rehabilitation. One chiropractic approach to chronic episodic low back pain has gained attention in recent years is chiropractic maintenance care, which is designed to prevent further episodes of low back pain by providing ongoing care and treatment.

So, what is chiropractic maintenance care, and how effective is it in managing chronic low back pain? In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of chiropractic maintenance care and discuss a study that assessed its effectiveness in managing chronic episodic low back pain.

What is Chiropractic Maintenance Care?

Chiropractic maintenance care is a type of ongoing treatment that aims to prevent future episodes of low back pain by providing regular care and treatment. The goal of maintenance care is to maintain the health of the spine and nervous system by identifying and addressing any potential problems before they become more severe. When a patient presents for maintenance care their spine will be checked and adjusted if required, exercises may be modified or prescribed, and lifestyle advice and encouragement given.

The frequency of maintenance care can vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and condition. For some patients, maintenance care may involve monthly visits, while for others, it may be more frequent. Your chiropractor will determine the frequency of care by weighing up various factors such as age, history of injuries, diet and exercise levels, what kind of crazy hobbies and sports you might enthusiastically engage in, amongst other things.

The concept of maintenance care is based on the idea that regular maintenance and checkups can help prevent future problems from developing, much like how regular dental checkups can prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

What does the research say? Does it Work?

An interesting study published in 2018 in the journal PLoS One assessed the effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for chronic episodic low back pain. The study included 328 participants who were randomly assigned to receive either maintenance care or symptom-guided treatment. Maintenance care frequency was determined by the chiropractor. The symptom-guided treatment group simply came back for care whenever their back started hurting again.

Who got on better, you may be wondering? Was it the group who visited whenever their back was sore, or was it the group who attended for regular tune-ups? According to the study participants who received maintenance care had an average of 12.8 fewer days with low back pain per year compared to those who received symptom-guided treatment. Additionally, the maintenance care group reported a 20% higher satisfaction rate with their care compared to the symptom-guided treatment group. If those great results weren’t enough, the study also found that the use of pain medication was 50% lower in the maintenance care group compared to the symptom-guided treatment group.

These statistics suggest that chiropractic maintenance care is not only effective in reducing the number of days with low back pain but also in improving patient satisfaction and reducing reliance on pain medication— kidneys and livers of the world, rejoice!

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Days Less Pain Per Year
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Less Pain Meds
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Higher Satisfaction

Are you more likely to only turn up to the chiropractor when you are broken down, or do you attend for regular checkups? The above study makes a good argument that chiropractic maintenance care can be highly effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with chronic pain. By preventing pain and disability from recurring, chiropractic maintenance care can help people live healthier, more active lives.

If you haven’t previously considered maintenance care, or have good intentions but then end up only coming in when you are in a mess, have a chat to your chiropractor the next time you’re in for a visit. With the right care and treatment, you can take control of your low back pain and live a healthier, more active life.

Reference

  • Balthazard, P., Sandoz, A., Stevans, J., & Tuchin, P. J. (2018). Effectiveness of preventive spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain and related disabilities: a preliminary study. PLoS One, 13(9), e0203029. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203029

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