Study Shows Chiropractic Best Choice for Athletes with Low Back Pain

back painMany people may not be aware that low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the United States.  Our modern lifestyle has many benefits but has also brought more stress to our daily routines. As a result, back problems have become an epidemic in recent times.

Approximately one quarter of US adults report having low back pain lasting at least 1 whole day in the past 3 months, and 7.6% report at least 1 episode of severe acute low back pain within a 1-year period. The prevalence rates of low back pain in athletes range from 1% to 40%.  Back injuries in the young athlete are a common phenomenon, occurring in 10% to 15% of participants.


Who are the Athletes at Higher Risk for Back Pain?

Sports that have higher rates of back pain include gymnastics, diving, weight lifting, golf, football, and rowing. In gymnastics, the incidence of back injuries is 11%. In football linemen, it may be as high as 50% (According to research conducted by Pierre A. d’Hemecourt MD).

Ninety percent of all injuries of professional golfers involve the neck or back. Injury rates for 15- and 16-year-old girls in gymnastics, dance, or gym training are higher than the general population, while cross-country skiing and aerobics are associated with a lower prevalence of low back pain. For boys, volleyball, gymnastics, weight lifting, downhill skiing, and snowboarding are associated with higher prevalence of low back pain, while cross-country skiing and aerobics show a lower prevalence.


Which Treatment Option is Best for Athletes with Back Pain?

A recent study tried to answer that question.  Conducted by Ryan C. Petering, MD and Charles Webb, DO, they researched various treatment options, including physical therapy, opioidsmuscle relaxants, as well as chiropractic.


Results of the Study: Chiropractic Comes Out Ahead

According to the results of the study, chronic low back pain showed improvement with chiropractic care.

In fact, the study goes on to say that chiropractic is “more effective than physical therapy in the long term.  Patients with mixed acute and chronic low back pain had better pain outcomes in the short and long terms compared with McKenzie therapy, medical care, management by physical therapists, soft tissue treatment, and back school.”

The study also goes on to say that chiropractic was more effective in reducing pain and improving daily activities when compared with sham therapy.  Although the study notes that Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and skeletal muscle relaxants can initially benefit patients with low back pain, the study also warns of the “considerable side effects that must be considered”.  Side effects associated with skeletal muscle relaxants include not only addiction or dependence, but heart failure and paralysis as well.

The study then concludes by stating “the treatments available to the clinician are broad, but very few treatment modalities have evidence of efficacy.”  With the study clearly noting chiropractic as an excellent treatment option for low back pain, chiropractic patients can rest assured knowing they are receiving care that not only has been shown to be effective, but that they are also receiving care without the risks and side effects that come with prescription medications and invasive surgery.


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If you would like to find out how a chiropractor in Augusta GA that specializes in treating athletes and sports injuries may be beneficial for you, you can schedule a complimentary consultation at Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic.

Many of our patients are referred by their medical doctors as well as physical therapists and personal trainers, and these patients are then able to resolve their sports injury through our injury-specific treatments, without the use of prescription medication or undergoing surgery.  Additionally, we can provide recommendations on safe strength training and conditioning exercises.


The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.

Augusta GA Chiropractor Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized treatments to  Augusta GA, Martinez GA, and Evans GA patients. Visit the main website at for customized chiropractic in Augusta GA.

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (706) 814-5053 or use our online form.