Low back pain is a very prevalent and costly condition. It is common for people dealing with low back pain to ask themselves “What do I need for treatment and where should I go?” Of the people who seek outpatient physical therapy services, 50% of them seek it for low back pain. But what’s the most effective treatment approach?
One of the largest studies that compared effective treatments for low back pain was performed in 2004. The study included 1,334 people with low back pain. The researchers investigated the effectiveness of manual therapy alone, exercise alone, a combination of the 2 treatments. The most effective and efficient treatment approach was a combination of manual therapy and exercise. The manual therapy portion included thrust and non-thrust manipulation of the spine followed by stretching and strengthening of the surrounding musculature. Significant improvements were measured in disability over both the short and long term.
Dettori JR, Bullock SH, Sutlive TG, Franklin RJ, Patience T. The effects of spinal flexion and extension exercises and their associated postures in patients with acute low back pain.
UK Beam Trial Team. United Kingdom back pain exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomised trial: effectiveness of physical treatments for low back pain in primary care. BMJ. November 2005