It is not hard to see how big of a problem low back pain is in America. Almost 9 out of 10 individuals will have low back pain at some point during his or her lifetime. 18% of individuals experience back pain at any one point in time, and back pain represents the second most common reason people go to see the doctor.
Thankfully, the natural history of most back pain that is acute, such as a back sprain or strain, is very good. Within 6 to 12 weeks, most back pain goes away no matter what the treatment.
Granted, receiving therapy with chiropractic, physical therapy, medication management or interventional pain management treatments can make it go away sooner. However, what we see is that most back pain goes away on its own. Over 40% of individuals will experience a recurrence of the pain within the next one to two years.
What happens to the 10% of individuals whose back pain becomes chronic? Does the pain have a positive natural history or does it get progressively worse? A study in Pain Physician last year looked at the natural history of chronic back pain over a four-year period.
The study findings were very interesting. A lot of people think that back pain often burns itself out, getting progressively better over natural history without significant treatment. The study actually found the opposite. For those with degenerative disc disease and spinal arthritis and back pain from spinal stenosis, what they found is that the level of pain was either the same after four years or significantly worse.
Individuals in this study were treated initially with therapy, but then only allowed over-the-counter pain medication or short-term narcotics. They were not provided with long-term physical therapy, chiropractic or interventional pain management procedures.
With chronic back pain, unfortunately what the study shows is that the natural history with the pain is not favorable. Therefore, it would seem prudent for those who are experiencing back pain that is chronic to receive treatment from the pain management clinic.
That way, it won’t just be one of these issues where patients have to simply learn to live with it. If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic back pain due to either spinal arthritis or degenerative disc disease, then help is available. The California Pain Network connects those in pain with pain management Los Angeles trusts.
Simply complete the form on this page or call (310) 626-1526 to get started today!