Mr S, a 42 year old marketing director, was complaining of a constant, nagging, dull ache type of pain in his low back. He reported to have been suffering from low back pain for over 15 years and the discomfort was always the same; he could not recall a specific causative incident. He blamed his stressful lifestyle.
Examination of his low back revealed very restricted movement of the joints throughout and a flattening of the spinal area which is normally gently curved inwards, (lordosis). No other signs could be found on examination.
He was treated using chiropractic spinal manipulation of the lumbar and sacroiliac joints, lumbo-pelvic muscles stretch and postural advice.
The patient responded well, but he would only feel relief for about a week after a consultation. He was advised a gym programme to keep his lumbar structures strong and efficient (he enjoyed badminton). By doing regular exercise he managed to keep his symptoms under control for up to a month. However, a busy schedule came first, and the gym routine fell away.
As his symptoms increased a decision to to x-ray his low back was taken. These x-rays showed only a mild case of wear and tear: this was suspected because he improved with care AND keeping active. Due to his busy lifestyle, he was unable to join a gymnasium hence it was agreed to receive treatment at two-week intervals.
The patient was uncertain and untrustworthy toward chiropractic care so he obtained an MRI scan from his personal insurance company. It turned out to be unnecessary and unremarkable.
The conclusion is that long term low-back pain can be stressful for the patient, however manageable with persistent chiropractic care along with the patient’s responsibility to keep healthy. X-rays and MRI scans are good diagnostic tools, but cannot always give the answers, especially in the case of mechanical low-back pain, which is the most common type.