Anne Asher 2007
Up until recently, research on back pain relief showed that about 90% of it goes away by itself, even if you're not getting medical treatment. But you may feel the statistician passed over you without so much as a glance when recording the numbers. This might not be very far from the truth.
A new study from Australia published in the British Medical Journal challenges the current view that recovery from a back problem is quick. And if you are being compensated for that problem, from an insurance company, for example, well, it's even slower.
One reason this is significant, is that studies such as these form the basis of clinical guidelines, which are research supported suggestions for doctors. So when all the research says 90% of back pain is the kind that goes away on its own, that's the information your doctor may refer to when deciding on treatment or giving you advice.
With this recent study, spine experts are beginning to wake up to the fact that back pain is a signifcant health problem that severely impacts peoples' lives. Professor Chris Maher, lead researcher on the project said, "we clearly need to rethink our approach" to back pain.
According to press materials, back pain accounts for 9% of all US healthcare expenditures. Because the study found that compensated cases of back pain resulted in even slower recovery, it also suggests that the compensation system needs reform.
The study looked at 973 patients with back pain, treated according to clinical guidelines as set forth by the government of Australia. After a month about 50% of the participants had recovered, a far cry from previous estimates of 90%. At the end of a year, 40% still had back pain.
George Institute (2008, July 10). Low Back Pain Recovery Slow; And Worse For Those On Compensation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/07/080708094216.htm