Back pain is one of the most common complaints amongst people, especially those that are middle-aged or older. Our backs handle a lot of our weight and a lot of strain that we put on them daily, from walking or standing with poor posture to hunching your back to work at a computer. We’ve all seen the endless lists of potential remedies or preventative measures that never seem to help. Researchers have set out to fill this void in medical research and find something to help relieve your ever-present back pain. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published a study in 2017 that researched the effects of orthotics on patients’ lower back pain.
Researchers split up 225 subjects (all adults that suffer from lower back pain) into three different research groups, one of which, of course, being a control group with which to compare the others. Each group was studied for six-weeks’ time.
Research Group 1
Each member of the first group was given shoe orthotics that were made custom for them and asked to wear them for six weeks. They were monitored as to the relief they experienced in their lower back pain and, after six weeks, were compared with the other two groups.
Research Group 2
The members of the next research group were given orthotics as well, but they also received an additional treatment: chiropractic manipulation. They underwent many of these procedures and received soft tissue massages, completing the treatment by alternating ice and heat packs on the lower back. This was done for six weeks before being compared to the control group and the other manipulated group.
Research Group 3
The last group received no orthotics or treatment whatsoever. They served as the control group and still showed signs of placebo effects.
Both groups that received orthotics reported significantly less pain in their lower back, with Group 2 indicating the most significant positive change. However, the control group that received no treatment whatsoever, also reported a substantial decrease in their back pain, raising questions about the level of placebo effect these groups experienced. It has been proven, however, that using orthotics can not only correct gait issues, but could also alleviate dysfunctional movements that worsen the pains in the lower back and can help restore the symmetry in your body. Orthotic usage corrects the issue.
While researchers say that custom orthotics will help significantly improve your back pain, the orthotics you can purchase at retail stores or pharmacies will work better than no orthotics at all. The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) recommends that you take your shoes with you when you purchase orthotics to ensure the perfect fit. You should make sure to get orthotics with the correct amount of support to accommodate your daily activity. It’s encouraged that you consult with a podiatrist before you pick an orthotic, but especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation as the wrong orthotic in this case could make the problem far worse.