As with many other chronic conditions, the cause of back pain in older adults may be very different than in younger individuals. Back pain may occur at almost any time during the lifespan, though studies indicate that that seniors and the elderly have a disproportionately higher risk for falling – which can result in debilitating pain. Research also shows that genetics play a role in disc degeneration, which can also cause pain. For elderly patients especially, an episode of low back pain needs to be evaluated by a qualified medical professional.

Back pain is discomfort felt in the back that can originate from muscles, nerves, bones, joints, or other spinal structures. Degenerative changes in the lower back are normal in the aging process. Discs lose water content, which allow adjacent vertebrae to approximate each other, increasing wear on the cartilage. Nerve roots may get compressed and impinge on the spinal canal, causing pain. Pain intensity can range from light muscle or posture-related discomfort to debilitating pain that greatly reduces the quality of life. The good news is that on most occasions, back pain can be successfully treated without surgery using alternative options such as muscle stimulation, chiropractic care and physical therapy.

At Mountain View Pain Center, our team of chiropractic care professionals treats low back pain, mid back pain, neck pain and extremity pain. We deliver expert advice, the highest quality of chiropractic care available, advanced soft tissue work, and state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs.

The Prevalence of Back Pain

According to the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS) – a study evaluating the impact of an aging population on back pain – the prevalence of back pain has increased by 29%, and chronic back pain has increased by 64%. The average age of adults with back pain has increased from 45.9 to 48.2 years. Expenditures on ambulatory services for chronic back pain have increased by 129% – from $15.6 billion (2000-2001) to $35.7 billion (2006-2007). Researchers concluded that the prevalence of back pain, especially chronic back pain, is increasing and will likely increase.
Back pain may have systemic causes, may be mechanical, or may be acute (sciatica). Elderly people with back pain most commonly have uncomplicated mechanical low back pain. The discomfort tends to worsen with stretching, twisting, walking, or bending. Acute radicular back pain (sciatica) radiates or continues down one leg in a way that is described as sharp, tingling, shooting or “electrical.” It can worsen when coughing, straining, or sneezing.

The Cost of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most expensive health problems in the U.S. today. A survey by the Journal
of the American Medical Association
found that total expenditures for neck and back care increased by 65% between 1997 and 2005. According to the AHRQ, a total of $30.3 billion was paid to providers in 2007. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that spine care costs reached nearly $86 billion in 2005, and that low back pain alone accounted for 2% of all physician visits in 2005.

At Mountain View Pain Center, our doctors use various diagnostic methods to evaluate your health, focusing on your spine and bone structure. We are committed to relieving your pain and restoring you to good health. We accept almost every insurance plan, including Medicare. If you have any questions about your plan, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Sources:

Asher, Anne. (2012). Back Pain Prevalence and Statistics: Epidemiology As It Relates to Back Pain.

Smith, M., Davis, M.A., Stano, M., Whedon, J.M. (2013). Aging baby boomers and the rising cost of chronic back pain: secular trend analysis of longitudinal Medical Expenditures Panel Survey data for years 2000 to 2007, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. (1): pp.2-11.

Martin, B., Deyo, R.A (2008). Original Contribution Expenditures and Health Status Among Adults With Back and Neck Problems JAMA. 299(6): 656-664.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States: Cost Data. NCCAM website.

Soni, A. PhD. (2010). Back Problems: Use and Expenditures for the U.S. Adult Populations in 2007. Statistical Brief #289. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The evaluation of the elderly person with acute low back pain. Medscape Family Medicine, 2007.



Chiropractic for low back pain is suggested by the AMA and others. In a recent article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it was recommended that patients looking for alternative treatment for low back pain first try chiropractic care before considering surgical procedures. The article states that many individuals can benefit from conservative chiropractic care, and that surgery is often only necessary when other more conservative treatments fail. Previous research has shown that chiropractic care for low back pain is more cost effective than either surgery or drug therapy, and saves patients money. The first phase is often pain relief, and the second phase is to correct the problem. The goal is to help patients maintain a healthy, pain-free back. The information in the JAMA article reinforces the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) position, which states, “Conservative care options should serve as a first line of defense against pain.”

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

It is one of the most common reasons for missed work, and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office. More than $50 billion each year is spent on low back pain, and experts estimate that as many as 80% of us will experience a back problem in the future.

At Mountain View Pain Center, our dynamic team of doctors treats low back pain, mid back pain, neck pain and extremity pain. We combine expert advice, the highest quality of chiropractic care available, advanced soft tissue work, and state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs. We use various diagnostic methods to discover the state of your health, focusing on your spine and bone structure. Spinal manipulation and other manual adjustments can help your body heal itself.

The Causes of Low Back Pain

The back is a structure composed of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Pain can occur from a wide range of imbalances, such as sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks, and irritated joints. Sports injuries, improperly treated injuries, accidents, poor posture, bending, and lifting can cause acute (sudden) back pain. Chronic pain can result from disease, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, cancer, or osteoporosis. Conditions such as obesity and psychological stress can also cause, complicate, or aggravate low back pain.

Alternative Approaches for Low Back Pain

Samuel Moon, MD, MPH, associate director of education at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, weighs in on alternative treatments for back pain:

1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy for low back pain can include the use of machines or traction, stretching exercises, or hands-on techniques. “The types of physical therapy shown to be most helpful for chronic low back pain are hands-on soft tissue mobilization where the therapist moves the soft tissues of your back, as well as education about posture and home exercise,” says Dr. Moon. “Effective physical therapy should be goal oriented. It should always include learning what to do at home, and then doing it.”

2. Chiropractic Care: A chiropractic physician is a neuromusculoskeletal expert who is trained in the treatment and management of low back pain. They use their hands to manipulate the joints and spine to help relieve the pain, and provide strategies for back-strengthening exercises and injury prevention. “Chiropractic is generally considered to be as good as physical therapy, and as good as patient education, in relieving back pain,” says Dr. Moon. “And, like physical therapists, chiropractors can be very good educators about back health.”

3. Acupuncture: Acupuncturefor back pain involves inserting very thin needles into specific points on your body. This traditional Chinese therapy is thought to balance the flow of energy in your body, and is generally considered to be very safe. Dr. Moon commonly recommends acupuncture for low back pain. “There is definitely some evidence that it’s effective,” he says.

4. Therapeutic Massage: Various massage techniques are used to relieve low back pain. “Combined with other approaches, I think it can be useful,” says Dr. Moon.

5. Mind-Body Therapies: Mind-body therapies for low back pain include: Guided imagery, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, Relaxation therapy, and Talk therapy. Research has shown that these kinds of therapies can be effective in treating back pain. “For persistent back pain, I almost always recommend some type of mind-body therapy,” Dr. Moon says.

The doctors at Mountain View Pain Center are committed to relieving your pain and restoring you to good health and wellness. Whether it’s a specialized rehabilitation program, chiropractic care, muscle stimulation, or nutritional counseling, we will find the right option to suit your individual needs. Although several approaches may work, our goal is to find the method that is safe, effective, and works best for you.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, states that nearly 60% of people suffering from low back pain claim they get badly needed relief from chiropractic treatment. He says that over time, chiropractic treatments for low back pain may make a difference and are just as effective as pain medication. “The difference is that painkillers don’t eliminate the problem; they just cover up the symptoms. Spinal realignment, which forms the foundation of chiropractic care, can get to the root cause and fix an irritated nerve.”

American Chiropractic Association Tips to Prevent Low Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active, under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a medium firm mattress to minimize any curve in your spine.
  • Lift with your knees, and do not twist.
  • Quit smoking, as it impairs blood flow to spinal tissues.
  • Ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.

If you are experiencing acute or chronic low back pain, feel free to contact us. One of our specialists will diagnose your pain and create a treatment plan that is right for you.

Sources:

Low Back Pain: Denise M. Goodman, MD, MS; Alison E. Burke, MA; Edward H. Livingston, MD

JAMA. 2013;309(16):1738. April 24, 2013, Vol. 309, No. 16.

Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010

Back Pain Facts and Statistics

Back Pain: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

How Effective Are Chiropractors for Treating Back Pain?



In the world of Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and Sports Medicine, there is much debate and discussion revolving around the topic of “core strength.”  The reason this topic has been so highly discussed is usually in regards to the fact that research has shown us that individuals possessing greater core strength and stability often have reduced incidences of things like low back pain, sports injuries, and postural dysfunction.  With this article I would like to discuss exactly what the core is and the role it plays in helping us stay injury and low back pain free.

Core Muscles

The core is made up of a lot of different muscles and tissues all working in synergy to provide a solid foundation for the body to operate upon.  One thing that people often mistake about the core is the actual muscle groups it incorporates.  It is not just the abdomen that needs to be strong in order to have a strong core; in fact it is much more than that.  The core does include the abdominal musculature like the rectus abdominis, and the obliques, but the back or posterior part of your body needs to be equally if not greater in strength and stability.   Having strong back muscles, along the spine as well as having deep “stabilizer” muscles will help your body better react to everyday forces that are applied to it.  Along with having strong back muscles, having strong and flexible leg muscles is also extremely important.  The hamstrings need to be flexible and firing properly, along with the big muscles like the gluteus maximus or your “butt muscles.”  Yes, there should be muscle there, not just a seat cushion!  If muscles like the gluteus maximus and hamstrings are strong and doing their job, they will help stabilize the pelvis, which in turn will help decrease some of the forces and load that is placed on the lumbar spine or “low back.”

Need back pain help?

The chiropractors at Mountain View Pain Center are well trained in identifying weaknesses in your core musculature.  If low back pain is your problem, it is very possible that there is dysfunction in your core.  Through soft tissue treatments and rehabilitative exercises, core dysfunction can be treated successfully and ultimately lead to you having less pain, and having increased ability to do the things you want to do in life.  If you have questions or concerns related to your posture, pain, or core weakness, don’t hesitate to contact us!



One of the most common causes of low back pain is dysfunction of the Sacroiliac joint (also knows as the SI joint). The sacroiliac joint is one of the largest joints in the body, and is an articulation of the sacrum and the iliac bone (a portion of the pelvis). This bone can become restricted in several ways such as acute trauma, repetitive motion, pregnancy, or poor posture.

When this joint becomes restricted it causes inflammation in the joint, which can cause a very sharp pain directly over the area. Due to the muscle attachments in the area, inflammation in the joint may also cause low back pain, hip pain, or even radiating pain in the leg.  Any condition or injury to the leg that causes an altered stride can also affect the joint. For example an ankle injury can cause someone to alter the weight they put on that leg. This can cause more pressure on the opposite SI joint, rotation of the pelvis, or a functionally short leg. If the joint has suffered chronic restriction and inflammation this area can degenerate rapidly causing chronic low back pain that can cause an altered gate pattern or limp.

Treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

At Mountain View Pain Center we can resolve this area quickly combining our chiropractic and physical therapy treatments. Our doctors will determine what has caused this dysfunction and develop a treatment plan that best suits you for quick and effective results. With our state of the art equipment we can remove the inflammation from the joint as well as decrease pain. This will allow the doctor to remove scar tissue and adhesions from the joint as well as restore full range of motion to the area. If you think you may be suffering from an sacroiliac joint dysfuntion, call us to get evaluated by one of the Chiropractors at Mountain View Pain Center.



Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain

A new study that was in the November 2010 issue of Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics looked at the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care vs medical care for the treatment of low back pain. The primary reason for this study was to determine if there are differences in the cost of low back pain treatment when a patient is able to choose between a medical doctor (MD) versus a doctor of chiropractic (DC), given that his/her insurance provides equal access to both provider types. The study was done on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s large group fully insured population between October 1, 2004 and September 30, 2006. The results of the study showed episodes of low back pain treatment initiated with a DC were 40% less than those who saw treatment of their low back pain with an MD.

Chiropractic Care is more effective in the treatment of low back pain!

This study shows that chiropractic care for low back pain is more cost effective than medical care for back pain. If you have any questions about this study or questions about your low back pain please feel free to give us a call.  Mountain View Pain Center is located in Centennial, Littleton, Aurora CO which is conveniently located to Denver CO, Highlands Ranch CO, Greenwood Village CO and Lone Tree CO.


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