Would You Visit a Chiropractor for Back Pain?
If you have persistent neck or back pain, you might be considering chiropractic manipulation, or realigning the spine by pressing on its joints, a therapy often touted to relieve such chronic discomfort. Chiropractic care is one of the most popular forms of complementary medicine. In 2012, one in 12 U.S. adults visited the chiropractor, according to an analysis of federal survey data published in January. And each year chiropractors (along with some osteopathic physicians and physical therapists) perform several million adjustments.
Will It Work?
The founder of modern chiropractic care, a 19th-century Iowan, believed that chiropractic manipulation could cure all manner of maladies. And some chiropractors still offer services for conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure, even though there’s no strong evidence that chiropractic treatment helps for those. But most chiropractors focus on skeletal and muscular problems—especially low back, neck, and shoulder pain, and related headaches.
And some studies suggest that spinal manipulations (“adjustments”) can help diminish such pain. A 2011 review of 26 studies found that for chronic low back pain, manipulation reduced pain in the short term at least as much as exercise and even pain relievers. Chiropractic care also improved participants’ short-term physical functions, such as their ability to climb stairs or bend over.
“The bad news is that for chronic, persistent back pain, even the best therapies result in only mild to moderate relief,” says Roger Chou, M.D., a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University who studies back pain. “The key is finding the treatment that works for you and seeing a therapist who cares about function—not just pain relief—and who will help you get back to the activities that matter most in your life.”
When it comes to neck pain, a study of 181 people published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that getting regular chiropractic care (about once per week for 12 weeks) could lessen discomfort better than acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some research also suggests that chiropractic manipulation might work as well as medication for migraine headaches.
“For chronic backache or neck pain that is not accompanied by symptoms requiring medical attention—such as urinary or intestinal problems or weakness, numbness, or tingling in an arm or leg—considering chiropractic manipulation seems reasonable,” says Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D. But it isn’t risk-free. “It can cause temporary headaches and, rarely, serious problems such as worsening the pain of a slipped disk,” he notes.
All states require chiropractors to earn a four-year doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Chiropractors are also required to pass an exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners to get licensed.
Treatments are often covered by insurance, including Medicare Part B, which pays 80 percent of the cost after your deductible.
Back pain is one of the most common symptoms reported among the general population. While a majority of cases resolve on their own, some instances of back pain may be due to further injury or an aggravated condition. If the symptoms are persistent, it might be time to seek medical attention immediately. Chiropractic care focuses on musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, helping to restore the original health of the spine.
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Federal employees face the same injury risks as those in the private industry and different areas of the public sector. Those risks can be serious. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that approximately 124 federal employees suffered fatal accidents in 2013.
Based on the BLS, the top causes of fatal injuries among workers are:
A federal worker who suffers a job-related private injury or illness (or even families of these employees who have been lost) can seek benefits through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). These benefits include coverage of wages that are lost because of permanent or temporary disability. They also have death benefits for eligible survivors.
The following is a closer look at the most common leading causes of accidentsread more
Federal employees that are injured at work do not get benefits through workers’ comp insurance or their nation’s workers’ comp program.
Instead, federal employees receive workers’ compensation benefits through the Federal Employees Compensation Act, abbreviated as FECA, except for railroad workers, longshoremen, black lung coal miners, and refuge workers (that are insured under their own national laws for workers’ compensation). Members of the USA armed forces are also not considered federal employees for purposes of FECA.
FECA provides benefits and injury compensation for workers injured on the job, or even if their injury happened during the course and scope of their employment offsite. FECA covers both injuries and occupational diseases that arise over time work conditions. The United States Department of Labor, through the Office of Worker Compensation Programs, administers the workers’ comp benefits provided by the Federal Employeesread more
There are a number of important factors to take into consideration, such as the timing of when an MRI scan must be performed and limitations with interpretation of findings, to get an MRI scan for herniated discs.
To begin with, the difficulty with the results of an MRI scan, as with a number of other diagnostic studies, is that the abnormality may not always be the source of an individual’s back pain or other symptoms. Numerous studies have shown that approximately 30 percent of people in their twenties and forties have a lumbar disc herniation in their MRI scan, even though they don’t have any pain.
An MRI scan cannot be interpreted on its own. Everything Has to Be well-correlated into the individual patient’s condition, for example:
- Symptoms (such as the duration, location, and severity of pain)
- Any deficits in their examination
Another concern with MRI scans is the time of when the scan is done. Wheread more
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