New research aims to find better ways for managing back pain

Mari-Len De Guzman
August 04, 2015
Improving medical assessments for low back pain is the subject of a research study currently being conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

According to a news report from the B.C. Chiropractic Association (BCCA), Dr. Jason Busse, chiropractic research chair at McMaster is investigating ways to improve medical assessments for low back pain and increase efficiency when identifying the most appropriate course of management.

"Dr. Busse's research reinforces the notion that most medical doctors are not confident in their diagnosis of spine conditions," said the BCCA news report. "Back pain can result from physical, chemical or emotional stress. It can be difficult to pin down the individual factors that are causing each patient's case of back pain. As a result, many doctors consult advanced medical imaging such as CT scans or MRIs as part of the assessment process, when in reality, these types of imaging are best used to reinforce or rule out a diagnosis. Imaging used for assessment purposes is generally not helpful."

In his research Busse will look into determining better assessment techniques that involve collaboration between a chiropractor and the medical doctor. Through such a collaborative approach, it would be easier to identify which patients require conservative care, advanced imaging or surgical assessment.

Back pain patients who do not find relief from their medical doctors are typically referred to a spine surgeon for surgical consult. Busse earlier polled Canadian spine surgeons and found that 20 per cent of referred patients are rejected without a consult. And of those patients who do receive a consult, only one in ten is eligible for surgery.

Find out more are about this study on the BCCA website.

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