A recent study in The Journal of Neurosciences identified a 5-11 percent loss in grey matter in chronic back pain sufferers. This is the equivalent amount lost during 10-20 years of natural aging! The rate of brain damage was found to be related to the duration of the pain, with 1.3 cm of grey matter lost for every year of back pain.
This is disturbing news for those already suffering from daily back pain. There are various causes of chronic pain, including: previous trauma, arthritis, fibromyalgia, skeletal abnormalities, neurological disorders or muscular problems. These sufferers already deal with the potential side effects from heavy prescription medications used to combat the stiffness, swelling, depression, sleep disorders and constant pain they go through. As if that weren’t enough, now they have to worry about losing their brain function!
Low back pain truly is reaching epidemic proportions. In fact, 80% of Canadians experience it at some point in their lifetime. According to Health Canada, back pain is an $8 billion a year problem. While some people use various medications and other products with mixed results, others just ignore the pain, hoping it will go away on its own. Usually the pain doesn’t go away, and instead becomes chronic and debilitating.
There is help available. Chiropractic is a drug-free, gentle and highly effective therapy for acute and chronic pain patients. Chiropractors are specially trained to diagnose and treat back conditions. Treatments help restore normal spinal, muscle and nerve function, thereby slowing the rate of musculoskeletal degeneration and reducing pain.
If you or someone you know suffers from chronic back pain, chiropractic may not only help the pain; it could save your brain!