Debilitating Workplace Low Back Pain Alleviated by Naturopathic Medicine

    Study shows benefits of naturopathic medicine to improve employee pain
    and quality of life

    TORONTO, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - An innovative research study supports the
treatment of low back pain with naturopathic medicine to mitigate workplace
absenteeism, low productivity and other health-related costs. Undertaken as a
joint venture between the Canada Post Corporation (CPC), the Canadian Union of
Postal Workers (CUPW), and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
(CCNM), the research indicates that workplace initiatives can effectively help
employees suffering from chronic back pain.
    Chronic low back pain in the workplace has become a serious personal and
work-related health issue, accounting for many sick days, decreased quality of
life, decreased productivity and increased health-related costs to the
    "If you have ever experienced chronic low back pain, you know what it can
do to your life," explains researcher Kieran Cooley, ND. "Activities you love
may not be possible and just getting through your work day can be stressful
and highly painful."
    In March 2005, more than 70 postal workers participated in a randomized
controlled trial in Toronto to assess and treat chronic lower back pain using
naturopathic medicine. Volunteers included postal clerks, drivers and letter
carriers. The 12-week study assessed back-pain related disability, quality of
life, use of prescribed drugs, spinal flexibility, and pain management before,
during, and after receiving treatment.
    The results clearly demonstrated that the group receiving naturopathic
care had clinically and statistically significant positive results including
improved physical functioning, decreased disability, significant pain
reduction, improved spine flexibility, dramatic reduction in the use of
over-the-counter (OTC) medications/painkillers, and improved quality of life
including increased energy and vitality.
    After completing the study, one postal clerk stated, " back had been
bothering me for years...I stopped exercising, doing things around the house,
and even socializing. Now, the pain is so much less and I'm back to enjoying
my life."
    The study, recently published in the journal PLoS One, represents the
first randomized controlled trial to assess the impact of naturopathic
medicine, a whole and holistic system of health care, in the workplace. It
demonstrates the effectiveness of a naturopathic medical protocol for the
treatment of chronic low back pain. In addition, the study gives credence to
the use of a multi-modal holistic and partially-individualized treatment
approach using a combination of therapies to address disease. This trial is
the first of a series designed and run by CCNM in collaboration with CPC and
CUPW for the purpose of improving employee health and quality of life.

    About CCNM
    CCNM is Canada's premier institute for education and research in
naturopathic medicine, offering a rigorous four-year, full-time doctor of
naturopathic medicine program. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of
primary health care that addresses the root causes of illness, and promotes
health and healing using natural therapies. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are
highly educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical
diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies.

For further information:

For further information: Dugald Seely, ND, MSc Research Director, CCNM:
(416) 498-1255 ext 387,; Kieran Cooley, ND, Research Fellow,
CCNM: (416) 498-1255 ext 324,

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