April 18, 2012
I watched with interest your March 20 segment on chiropractic intervention for back pain featuring Steven Shoshany, DC.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans experience low back pain, but according to a survey of more than 2,600 adults conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 37 percent do not seek professional help for pain relief.
Christa, the audience volunteer in the segment who admitted she "suffers" through the pain, is certainly not alone.
APTA's low back pain survey also found that:
- More than one-third of adults say low back pain has affected their ability to engage in tasks of daily living (39 percent), exercise (38 percent), and sleep (37 percent);
- Low back pain isn't just for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of Americans who experience low back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting;
- Men (31 percent) are more likely than women (20 percent) to report that low back pain affects their ability to do work;
- When experiencing low back pain, nearly three in four (72 percent) Americans use pain medication as a way to relieve their symptoms. More than half (55 percent) said they use heat and cold packs at home for relief.
Further information on APTA's low back pain survey may be found in APTA news release, which includes an infographic on the survey. In addition, APTA has developed a webpage on low back pain that features an e-Book, Low Back Pain: Management and Prevention to help consumers understand the causes of low back pain and provide strategies to help prevent and manage the condition. Additionally, on April 23 at 7:00 pm, ET, an expert panel will discuss prevention and management of low back pain in a live Blog Talk Radio show.
Even though most people experience low back pain at some point in their lives, many do not realize they can prevent or treat the condition with the help of a physical therapist. This treatment may include a combination of exercises to strengthen the back, manual therapy to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues, and education about how to take better care of the back to relieve pain in the long term.
However, before beginning any hands-on treatment, a physical therapist will take a patient/client history, conduct a systems review, and perform tests and measures to identify potential and existing problems. Afterwards, a physical therapist will perform an evaluation and develop a treatment plan. Because an examination and assessment is essential to ensuring patient safety and positive patient outcomes, I am hopeful that Christa received an examination by either Dr. Oz or Dr. Shoshany prior to her spinal adjustment being performed.
As an evidence-based treatment that is conservative and cost-effective, physical therapy helps patients avoid the cost and trauma of surgery and the side-effects of prescription medications, in many cases. Patients across the US may go directly to their physical therapist for chronic pain management, such as from lumbar degenerative disc disease, even though there may be restrictions imposed in some instances if patients have not been referred by a physician.
Physical therapist intervention can be an effective, affordable, conservative method of pain management. Therefore, we hope you will keep APTA and physical therapists in mind for future shows on back pain.
Your viewers may learn more about conditions physical therapists treat and find a physical therapist in their area by visiting www.moveforwardpt.com.
R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD
American Physical Therapy Association