We talk about low back pain pretty often in these blogs, and if you’ve gotten around to reading some of them, you’ll see that there’s a clear reason for it. Low back pain is one of the most common reasons that patients come in to see us for treatment, and the number of people who deal with back-related issues shows why. About 12% of the world’s population is currently dealing with low back pain in some form, and up to 85% of people will encounter low back pain to some degree at least once in their lifetime.
At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we see and treat many patients with low back. We use a number of different types of treatment depending on the duration of the low back pain and how severe your condition is, but every program we offer will include at least some education and various exercises. We utilize these strategies not just because we think they are helpful, but for a very important reason: they are supported by medical literature that shows they are effective ways of treating and preventing low back pain.
This month we’d like to show you a specific example of research that supports the methods we use to treat and prevent low back pain in Springfield, NJ. It’s a recent study published this month that investigates different methods for reducing the risk of low back pain.
The type of study performed is actually a pair of studies called a systematic review and meta-analysis. These are considered one of the most powerful and high-quality forms of medical literature, and the two are often performed together. The systematic review is used to search for quality studies that are relevant to the topic at hand, which in this case is different strategies to prevent low back pain. The meta-analysis then takes all the studies that are accepted and analyzes their results in great detail with the goal of finding a conclusion.
In the systematic review, over 6,000 studies were identified, but only 21 of these were appropriate and of high enough quality to be used in the meta-analysis. They contained information on over 30,000 patients and investigated the effects of six different types of strategies to prevent low back pain. The strategies investigated were exercise, education, exercise and education, back belts, shoe insoles and other prevention strategies.
After all 21 studies were evaluated in the meta-analysis, results showed that combining exercise and education was the most effective of all the strategies for preventing low back pain. Though exercise alone was shown to be beneficial, the addition of education added greatly to this benefit. Education on its own, back belts and shoe insoles, on the other hand, were not found to be helpful for reducing the risk for low back pain.
This study is just one of many medical studies we use to guide our treatment decisions for low back pain and other conditions. If you’re dealing with low back pain now or believe that you’re at risk for developing it, we can help by offering an evidenced based treatment approach to relieve your symptoms and find a solution to your problem. Call ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
If you’d like to read the abstract (summary) for the study on low back pain, click here