Clinical guidelines are created by healthcare practitioners and researchers to assist practitioners and patients for care with specific health conditions. Because lower back pain is a significant problem in western society, clinical guidelines have been developed to help advise appropriate treatment. This article will discuss clinical guidelines for health providers and patients seeking low back pain relief and a promising approach to bring safe, cost-effective, acute and chronic musculoskeletal-back discomfort relief to the general public.
Primary care doctors are typically the first entry for patients in our healthcare system. However, research shows the average PCP doesn’t have adequate training for musculoskeletal conditions. For example, 79% of all medical doctors failed a basic musculoskeletal cognitive examination.
Spine pain is an enormous problem in America. Back discomfort accounts for nearly one third of chronic pain. This contributes to long-term disability, opioid dependency, and costs, both financial and societal.
Subsequently, experts have recently called for the establishment of a primary spine care practitioner and have recommended that chiropractors can fulfill this role. For instance, the joint commission of the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend spinal manipulation, which is a nonpharmacologic treatment with proven benefits.
Chiropractors are the preeminent healthcare specalists when it comes to relieving pain of the lower spine. Doctors of Chiropractic are professionals trained to diagnose and treat physical, mechanical alignment problems of spine pain.
Since most lower spine pain is due to mechanical problems, such as misalignment and abnormal movement of spinal vertebrae, it takes extensive training and skill to perform spinal manipulation. Becoming a chiropractor requires traditional undergraduate training plus five years of education at a college of chiropractic. Chiropractic education institutions provide academic courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, bio-mechanics and diagnosis. Additionally, clinical courses in manipulation of the spine (which chiropractors term “spinal adjustments”) and extremities, the use of physiological therapeutics such as electrical stimulation and cryotherapy and rehabilitative exercise are taught.
The guidelines for conservative treatment of lower spine pain indicate chiropractic spinal manipulation is very safe. This is especially true when one considers possible alternative treatments of opioid narcotic pharmacologics and spine surgery.
Scientific literature investigating financial costs of varying types of treatment for lower back pain also favor chiropractic care. Actual treatment costs performed by Doctors of Chiropractic have been shown to be less than surgery, physical therapy, spinal injections and certain forms of pharmacologic care.
Research and scientific-based guidelines strongly indicate that chiropractors should be the initial contact and providers for patients who wish to gain acute and chronic lower back pain relief.