Low back pain effects millions of people every year in the united states. Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for doctor visits and cost about 26 billion dollars a year. This is not counting incidental cost. http://www.annals.org/content/147/7/478.full This link is a good place to start when looking at the cost and time loss of low back pain. Low back pain can be acute (a new episode) or chronic (pain on almost daily basis for over 6 months.)
With over 19 years experience in treating low back pain I have seen it all. The worst case scenario for low back pain is to injure the low back and then sit around and rest hoping it will go away. Most of the people I see with chronic low back pain were treated with a very conservative wait and see approach for a couple weeks with rest and pain medication. What will happen with this approach is the muscle of the spine will weaken and the body will develop secondary problems away from the injury. Once the spinal muscle start to weaken due to the non use of them it will take a long time to regain the strength.
So what to do? Immediate care with mobilization of the injured area, ice, stretching and walking is what I have personally witnessed over the years as the best course to take a patient from an acute injury and get them back to their normal life in about a four to six week period. Some factors can delay this for low back pain, such as prior injury, prior surgery, disc degeneration or herniation, lack of muscle tone before the injury or some social issues to name a few. Although even with these the worst thing for acute low back pain is rest.
If you or someone you know is suffering from low back pain and do not know what to do please give us a call at Advanced Chiropractic in Everett Wa. We treat low back pain very seriously and will get you in the office usually on the same day you call.