WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
April 6, 2009 -- Back pain can be a big pain in the neck. To deal with it, many U.S. adults favor hands-on therapies such as chiropractic manipulation, massage, and physical therapy, a new survey says.
Consumer Reports says in its May issue that 80% of adults in the U.S. report having been bothered by back pain at some point in their lives. The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center surveyed 14,000 subscribers who reported experiencing back pain in the past year but who had never undergone back surgery. More than half said the pain severely limited their daily routines for at least a week, and many said it interfered with sex, sleep, and weight control.
It found that:
Of those who’d sought help:
The respondents were also asked about their satisfaction with various treatments. Of those reporting they were highly satisfied:
Consumer Reports says most respondents had tried five or six different treatments and that many with prolonged pain said they hadn’t seen a health professional because they didn't believe anything could help.
The survey also found that:
“There are almost always better solutions than opioids for low-back pain,” says Orly Avitzur, MD, a neurologist and medical advisor to Consumers Union. “They have numerous adverse effects, such as drowsiness, respiratory depression, constipation, and nausea.”
Also, she says, overdose is a major concern.
Consumer Reports advises people with low back pain to:
It conducted a separate survey of about 1,000 people who’d had back surgery in the past five years and found that only 60% were completely or very satisfied with the results. And more than 50% reported at least one problem with recovery.
“Patients should be aware that significant problems during recovery may be underestimated,” Consumer Reports says in a news release.
SOURCES:News release, Consumer Reports.Consumer Reports, May 2009; pp 12-13.
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