The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on November 19, 2015, documenting the case of a patient suffering from left-sided low back pain that radiated down the left leg being helped by chiropractic.
The authors of the study report that lower back pain (LBP) is one of the most common health issues in society. It is estimated that between 6.3% and 15.4% of the general population suffers from low back pain for the first time each year. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2015 reports that LBP is the most common condition seen in a chiropractor’s office accounting for 23.6% of new patients.
In this case, a 43-year-old man went to the chiropractor complaining of severe pain in his lower back that radiated down his left leg to his ankle and foot. The man had received an MRI and was diagnosed with a left L4-L5 focal disc protrusion with an extruded fragment. The man rated the pain on a 1 to 10 scale (10 worst) as being between 8 and 10. The pain was worse upon sitting and lying down.
The medical care the man received consisted of prescription drugs including 200 mg. of Advil, 5 mg-325 mg of Percocet , 5 mg. of Valium, and Tramadol. The drugs only provided minor help for short periods of time. Due to the lack of progress, a friend told the man to see a chiropractor.
Upon entering the chiropractor’s office, a history and examination were performed. It was noticed that the patient had an antalgic lean due to the pain. He also had muscle spasms and swelling in the lower back area. Motion of his lower back was reduced and painful.
Based on the results of the chiropractic examination and the severity of his condition, chiropractic care was initiated daily for the first week followed by three times per week for the next three weeks, after which a reassessment was performed.
At the time of the reassessment, the patient had improved to the point where he was able to work 12-hour days feeling slightly stiff and was able to sleep through the night without pain. He also reported that he was able to sit and lay down without any pain. His slight remaining pain at the one month point of care was rated as only a 2 out of 10, and his muscle strength and movement were greatly improved.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case report described the successful chiropractic care of a patient with a chief complaint of low back pain associated disc protrusion at the L5-S1 functional spinal unit.”