Men’s Health and Consumer Reports recently endorsed chiropractic for back pain and more

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The last couple of months has been filled with publications that suggest chiropractic should be your first choice professional for back problems and many other painful conditions.   Last February, the Annals of Internal Medicine told healthcare providers to say no to drugs for back pain and yes to about anything else with evidence-based suggestions recommendations on which treatments may work.   This was an acknowledgment that medications are being overused and causing harm to those who seek help, with Opioids grabbing the most headlines this past year.   It also suggested that with all the options that can help you, medication shows little or no long-term benefit and can actually harm you, so why use it? The idea of hiding the symptoms, rather than properly diagnosing and treating a problem such as lower back pain is a huge cost driver in our health care system.  Problems that are poorly managed medically can often show up years later as degenerated joints, arthritis and chronic pain. Recently, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reinforces the growing body of evidence that Spinal Manipulation can help with lower back pain. Manipulation of the spine currently is the best treatment choice for acute lower back pain.  Many doctors who have rarely referred to chiropractors will need to develop relationships so they can find the most effective ones in their area, as drugs are no longer an acceptable method of care.  It is only a matter of time until insurers demand doctors send their back pain patients to chiropractors or others who perform manipulation first. Consumer Reports and Men's Health have recently published their own articles on chiropractic as well. With all this great news, why aren't there lines out of the doors of each chiropractic office filled with people looking to be helped? While evidence-based chiropractors are the most experienced and probably most proficient with manipulation, those who get great results also use active evaluation, myofascial release, instrument-assisted soft tissue, exercises, and treat - test - treat protocols to assure you of the best results.   The truth is, today's most effective chiropractors use many or all of these methods to get their results.   As with most healthcare providers, your results are practitioner-dependent and can vary depending on their doctor's education, skill level, thoroughness, and willingness to go the extra mile when it comes to helping you.  Consumer Reports also suggest that compared to other disciplines, chiropractors offer the best patients satisfaction for the conditions they treat as well. While studies agree that manipulation is most effective, the results improve markedly with the better overall management of the mechanism behind why you hurt. It is not just back pain and disc problems that chiropractors successfully treat, but neck problems, mid back pain, shoulder problems, knee problems, ankle pain, and even plantar fasciitis.   Today's chiropractors often take a multifaceted approach to get you results and it is not only effective but safe. Chiropractors are trained in a holistic approach (looking at the entire person, not just your parts) rather than a reductionist approach that is common in today's practice of medicine.   Often, neck pain can be a lower back problem; shoulder pain can be caused by another part of the body, and problems in the elbows and wrists can start in the back and shoulders.   It is not sufficient to look at a knee problem by just looking at a knee, since the problem can begin in the hip, foot, and ankle.   We are greater than the sum of our parts. Back pain is a symptom that sometimes is a lower back injury, but can also be caused by foot problems, inherited asymmetries, scoliosis, shoulder problems, and even old injuries that were inadequately cared for.   Disc problems are often caused by the same types of chronic problems, with the acute episode of pain being the symptom.  Is it any wonder that medication is a bad approach to treating a mechanical problem in your body? Perhaps, this is why the holistic approach of chiropractors is so effective; evaluating and personalizing the care is the only way to resolve a back problem with manipulation restoring movement to joints that are affected by poor movement patterns causing the pain you are experiencing. Who should you visit first?  All roads lead to your local chiropractor.