Millions of Americans suffer from back pain with only temporary and mild relief from pain killers (which come with lots of potential side effects). These patients often struggle to even get through everyday tasks of their lives like going grocery shopping or doing household chores. There just are not too many options out there for these patients at this time. Thankfully, it appears as though some new alternatives may be on the horizon, especially if future studies can validate their impact.
Some patients report finding relief from alternative treatments including some procedural techniques such as spinal manipulation. Chiropractors and physical therapists can sometimes do certain manipulations of the spine which may help patients cope, sometimes even with longer term effects than that seen with medications. Sometimes referred to SMT (spinal manipulation therapy), it is notable that not all patients report benefit from it. There are some newer studies that suggest it may help though and for those who have suffered from back pain for a long time, any new options are often welcome.
Specifically the manipulations done by chiropractic professionals seem to help with spinal disc hydration as well as spinal stiffness. It is still unclear why the treatment only works for some and not others, but that may have to do with the etiology of the pain as well as individual natural differences within people. A much larger study is needed to really drive any strong clinical conclusions around the treatment. A large randomized trial would be the optimal study design to really measure the impact and get such procedures more recognition within traditional medicine. Future research will also look at the specifics of spinal manipulation and what procedures seem to have higher efficacy than others.
If you are interested in getting more help for your back pain, consider talking to your local chiropractor and see what they suggest. It is usually advised to also let your primary care doctor know as they may be able to work together to get you a better solution. Also the primary care doctor will know your history and can advise for or against any recommendations made by the chiropractor, giving a more holistic care solution for you. You may even find a mix of various treatments and procedures to be optimal for you as different medications and spinal manipulations may work by different mechanisms which can have a sort of synergy when used together.
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