LOW BACK PAIN
Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common diagnoses treated by health care professionals in the United States. Up to 70% of people will develop low back pain in their lifetime, and 5-10% of these cases will develop into chronic low back pain, which is experiencing pain for more than 3 months.
When looking at low back pain specifically, there are many potential contributing factors and terms often used: sciatica, stenosis, radiculopathy, piriformis syndrome, lumbago, spondylolisthesis, herniation, slipped disk, arthritis, etc. Many of these terms can be fear-inducing and lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Furthermore, these “impairments” show up on MRIs and lead to over-prescription of opioids and usage of injections and surgeries.
The research literature is pretty clear that conservative care (e.g. physical therapy) is the superior treatment option, and it is part of clinical practice guidelines in both physical therapy and medical practice guidelines. Additionally, even if your MRI shows those “impairments” they are often not the primary driver of pain and do not limit the ability to make a full recovery.