“I can’t believe how much my low back hurts! I don’t know if I can go to work with it like this!” Does this sound familiar? Have you ever missed work because of low back pain? Well, if you have, you’re certainly not alone! In fact, over 80% of the general population seeks some type of health care provision at some point in life because of low back pain and many of those lose work time. Lost work time is often associated with not being able to tolerate certain positions such as prolonged sitting, standing, bending, twisting, reaching, or combinations of these. Sometimes, just getting to work is next to impossible as the car ride alone may intolerable! There is nothing more depressing than not being able to move due to the sharp knife-like feeling in the back every time you try to change positions. However, it’s one thing to lose a day or two or even a week of work but what about those that can’t work for longer time periods, like several weeks or even months? This can become life altering as avoidance of moving for fear of that knife-like sensation in the back can quickly lead to muscle weakening, weight gain, lethargy, depression, and a host of other negative residuals. Many articles have been published in the past that tried to identify ways determine early on in the course of back treatment, who might be at greatest risk of not improving or becoming disabled. The term, “yellow flags” has been used to describe such factors and some success in identifying those prone to becoming disabled has been reported. In May 2009, another attempt to identify injured workers who were at risk for becoming disabled or, not being able to return to work for at least 3 months was published. Of the 346 injured workers that were followed for 6 months after the sick leave period began, 47% failed to return to work. There were five questions found to adequately screen those who were not able to return to work or were at greatest risk of becoming disabled. The 5 questions included:
- Do you expect to return to work within 6 months?
- How much does the pain interfere in your daily activities?
- It is not advisable to be physically active?
- Do you feel generally nervous?
- Do you feel generally scared?
The good news is that chiropractic manages these types of acute back pain quicker and better than any other form of health care. This is reflected by the highest percentage of consumers seek chiropractic over any other form of alternative health care for back pain relief according to the May, 2009 issue of Consumer’s Report.
We strive to provide the highest quality care and follow evidence and “best practice” approaches at our clinic and look forward to helping our patients through difficult times like this.