Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Correlation vs Causation in the Management of Low Back Pain

March 8, 2022

Did you know the more movies Nicolas Cage makes; the more people drown in pools? Or the worse the rating of M. Night Shyamalan on Rotten Tomatoes; the less total newspaper sales?

There is a significant difference between correlation and causation in the world and is especially noted in medicine. As we all deal with low back pain, injury, or dysfunction, we naturally look at the preceding events to determine what might have led up to injury. This is human nature as we try to control the “why” or circumstances that creates the certain predicament we are dealing with. As a natural survival instinct, we assign cause-effect, action-consequence. Unfortunately, this may lead us to assigning causation vs correlation and ultimately leading patients left seeking answers.

Classic examples in medicine:

“Your weak hips are causing your low back pain”

“The bulging disc is causing your nerve pain”

“Your posture is why your neck hurts”

Did Nick Cage cause people to drown in pools? Did the Six Sense put the newspapers out of business? Maybe. But I believe there may be more to the story.

Low back pain, injury and or dysfunction often is multimodal, complicated and is usually a culmination of many different factors. This is the benefit of looking at the body holistically or with a biopsychosocial approach. At MEND, we recognize the reality of our Boulder patient’s concerns and complaints and anchor our eclectic approach looking at correlations as highlighted by evidence. Our goal is to meet our patients where they are at with the awareness of correlation behind their reason for seeking Boulder Physical Therapy.

If you have questions regarding your pain, injury or dysfunction, please schedule a free consultation with one of MEND’s experts and we may be able to support you with our approach.