In the United States, Low Back Pain (LBP) is the second most common reason for a visit to a physician, the fifth most common cause of admission to a hospital, and the third most common indication for surgery. A minority of patients with back pain account for the majority of health care costs related to back pain, indicating that the potential cost of treating all patients with back pain is much higher than the actual cost.
I know low back pain is one of the primary conditions we treat at our San Francisco Back and Wrist Pain Center. Most cases are chronic...meaning the patient has had the problem for more than 6 months. Some of these patients are in really bad shape. Some are unable to work. Some are unable to get a good nights sleep, making life almost unbearable.
And treating chronic low back pain can be very challenging. Many patients have tried all sorts of back pain therapies, from acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy...to cortisone and pain medications.
My experience has been that most patients want to avoid surgery if possible. Some will not have surgery no matter how bad the back pain is. So what can be done? Is there a solution other than surgery?