• Does Spinal Manipulation Really Work for Back and Neck Pain?

    on Oct 12th, 2017

You can’t escape it. You can’t avoid it. If you have chronic neck and/or back pain, you have to deal with it all the time every day – or do you? If you don’t seek out treatment, then, sadly, you will have to experience that pain in your neck or back all the time. Whether you’re sitting, standing, bending or sometimes even laying down, you’ll feel the pain. It’s not going to go away on its own. You have to do something about it. But what should you do?

There are many options available to those suffering from chronic neck/back pain, and no one solution is the best for everyone. Different treatments are more or less appropriate for different people depending on the type, severity, location and cause of their neck/back pain. But some treatment options are typically more effective than others.

One treatment option that some people turn to is known as spinal manipulation therapy. But is this option really effective? Given all the claims on the internet, the answer isn’t entirely clear, so it’s tough to give a quick answer. Let’s take a look at the evidence so you can better understand why or why not this treatment option might work for you.

McMaster University’s Anita Gross claimed “the evidence keeps growing and growing” after the professor and physiotherapist reviewed literature on the matter and authored a paper on the subject. She believes that people suffering from back and neck pain can be successfully treated by seeking out spinal manipulation treatment by orthopedists.

Oregon health & Science University Professor of Medicine Roger Chou seems to agree with Gross. His 2016 paper  came out in favor of using spinal manipulation therapy for treating lower back pain.

Proponents believe these findings prove that the evidence against spinal manipulation therapy’s efficacy is bogus and a sort of propaganda war against the treatment.

"Across our different Cochrane reviews, we can say that probably the combination of manual therapy and exercise seems to be a dominant piece that's coming out as being a wise choice," Gross’ study continues.

Gross found that spinal manipulation therapy is most effective at providing short-term relief for chronic back pain. "There is some immediate pain relief – not necessarily long-term,” she wrote.

Most doctors and researchers believe that spinal manipulation therapy is most effective when it’s paired with lifestyle changes. Advanced Wellness of Westfield’s Dr. Pinto agrees. After x-raying patients to determine the source of their back pain, Dr. Pinto works to create the most effective spinal adjustment and realignment treatment plan that coincides with recommendations for lifestyle changes. By making these changes, you’ll ensure that your treatment doesn’t just provide short-term relief but actually improves your back pain over the long term.

As part of your treatment, you’ll be shown proper ergonomic and posture solutions along with correct body mechanics and relaxation exercises. It’s crucial that patients follow the custom treatment plan developed for them, because while visiting Dr. Pinto for adjustments and realignments will provide the immediate relief you’re seeking, following through by making the lifestyle modifications he recommends is the best way to ensure your continued health and wellness going forward.

In his study, Dr. Chou also found that spinal manipulation can be an effective treatment by comparing patients treated in this way versus those who were merely administered educational materials or kept as control groups.

"Our general finding was that manipulation appears to be more effective than treatments that are thought to be basically control treatments – such things as pretend ultrasound or giving somebody an educational booklet,” explained Chou.

His evidence again showed that spinal manipulation is best for providing immediate relief and that its effects are most profound when paired with other treatments. Again, this is why it’s so important to make lifestyle changes to improve your ergonomics, posture and exercise routines to keep your back feeling better for the long haul.

It’s also important to understand just what may be causing your neck and/or back pain to begin with. After all, it didn’t spring out of nowhere. And if you don’t understand what has led to it, then it would be difficult to decide what treatments are most likely to fix it.

For many, poor posture is a cause for chronic back pain. This place a high level of strain on the neck and shoulders. Other causes include degenerative disc disease, arthritis, trauma, muscle strains/spasms and pinched nerves.

Some 80 percent of all Americans complain of suffering from pain somewhere from their neck to hips, and regardless of what caused it, they want it gone. Pronto. That’s understandable, but by taking time to address the root cause of the pain with Dr. Pinto, you’ll be putting yourself in the best position possible to overcome it by following your custom treatment plan.

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