Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

Physiotherapy May Have Same Effects as Surgery for Chronic Back Pain

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Health and Wellbeing /

Physiotherapy-134911559

Chronic lower back pain can have such a severe impact of the lives of sufferers that many resort to surgery to improve their quality of life. However, a new study shows that surgery may be unnecessary because physiotherapy for back pain might just have the same effect.

The leading cause of back pain among the elderly is lumbar spinal stenosis. The condition causes shooting or twinging pains in the lower back, as well as tingling and numbness, as a result of the nerves in the back becoming compressed due to changes in the spine which happen with age.

Researchers asked 481 patients, all aged 50 or above, who had consented to surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis if they would be willing to join a study. Of the 169 patients who agreed to become participants, 87 had surgery and 82 were assigned to physical therapy. The physiotherapy group underwent a regimen of twice-weekly rehabilitation sessions for six weeks. While 57% of this group opted to abandon physiotherapy and have the surgery instead, the results showed that all participants, from both groups, achieved similar reduction of pain or other symptoms after two years.

Study author Dr Anthony Delitto, of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, highlights the clear advantage physiotherapy has over surgery: “Surgery is a riskier procedure, with about a 15% complication rate, and half of those are life-threatening. It isn’t a life-risking procedure to do physiotherapy.”

“The study demonstrates that both surgery and physical therapy are reasonable choices; the person who goes down either path ends up in the same place a year or two later,” says Dr Jeffret Katz, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Related Posts

  • Tips for Preventing Back Pain

    Back pain is a common ailment and affects the lives of millions of people worldwide. Many of its sufferers are dependent on painkillers but these can become addictive and may have harmful side effects if…

  • Meditation May Help Ease Chronic Back Pain

    Researchers have found that meditation is more effective than medication at easing chronic lower back pain. The study found that a programme called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) had better results than standard medical care for…

Posted by The Best of Health

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie

We use Google Tag Manager to monitor our traffic and to help us AB test new features.

Decline all Services
Accept all Services
X