Chiropractic: Does Back Pain Go Away Without Treatment?
In 1973, a self-described non-authority and non-researcher on back pain made a comment in a speech that would have long-lasting consequences for back pain sufferers. The speaker, whose last name was Dixon, made the following claim, “Of those who seek advice [for back pain] from their family doctors, 44% are better in one week irrespective of treatment and 86% are better in one month. Only 14% drag on longer than this.” In 1976, a well-regarded researcher erroneously referenced the 1973 speech as if it were a legitimate study. Subsequent references in textbooks and papers on the natural history of back pain appear to have copied the 1976 paper’s reference without having reviewed the original source to see if its claims were accurate.
More recent research has proven the 90% statistic is false and without proper treatment to address the underlying cause, as many as 75% of back pain patients will have continued pain and disability a year after the onset of back pain.