Back pain is one of the most common medical issues affecting adults worldwide. It is estimated that up to 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. For many, this pain is temporary and manageable. But for others, it becomes a chronic problem that interferes with work, activity, and quality of life.
If you are suffering from back pain, whether acute or chronic, you may be considering your treatment options. Along with rest, pain medication, physical therapy, and surgery, Chiropractic Care is a proven way to help relieve back pain and restore mobility. This article provides an in-depth look at how chiropractic treatment can benefit those suffering from back pain.
Understanding Back Pain
Back pain can originate from muscles, ligaments, joints, spinal discs, nerves or other structures in the back. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and lasts for a short duration, while chronic back pain persists for more than three months. Common causes of back pain include:
- Muscle, ligament or tendon strain from improper lifting, sudden movements, poor posture, or overuse
- Bulging or ruptured discs putting pressure on spinal nerves
- Arthritis in the spine, facets joints or sacroiliac joints
- Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis or a fracture
- Osteoporosis leading to compression fractures
- Non musculoskeletal conditions such as kidney stones or infection
Depending on the cause and severity, back pain can range from mild and annoying to severe and debilitating. It may be localized or radiating to other areas such as the hips, legs, feet and toes. Persistent back pain takes a physical and emotional toll, leading to reduced activity, lost work days, anxiety, depression, and sleep disruption.
What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic Care is a science, philosophy and art.
Chiropractic care encompasses a variety of hands-on approaches with a focus on the interactions between the muscular, nervous and skeletal systems. It centers around the use of spinal manipulation to restore joint mobility by adjusting misaligned vertebrae that may be interfering with nerve signaling.
Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer, who proposed that misalignments of the spine, termed “subluxations”, affect overall health and can contribute to pain, dysfunction and disease.
Research suggests that chiropractic adjustments can improve low back pain, neuromusculoskeletal conditions and headaches.
Chiropractors use a range of techniques including:
- Spinal manipulation – Applying controlled force to restore mobility to a joint restriction. This sometimes produces an audible “pop”. Chiropractors may also use low force adjusting techniques with instruments or devices.
- Mobilization – Gentle, oscillating movements to regain motion in joint restrictions.
- Soft tissue techniques – Stretching or trigger point therapy on muscles and ligaments.
- Postural advice – Guidance on proper spinal alignment and biomechanics.
Exercise to strengthen, support and improve flexibility of muscles and soft tissue structures.
Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain
Chiropractic care is often a recommended conservative treatment for low back pain. Spinal manipulation has been shown to be an effective approach for managing pain and disability related to back pain.
Chiropractors perform a full assessment to determine areas of vertebral joint restrictions or misalignments contributing to back pain. They may use manual spinal manipulation, light force manipulation or mobilization techniques to improve spinal joint function and alignment at the affected spinal levels.
For example, in a patient suffering with low back pain, a subluxation of the lumbar vertebrae may be present. In such a case, the chiropractor may manipulate the joint, back into proper position to relieve tension on the associated lumbar musculature and nerves.
Additional soft tissue techniques like trigger point release or massage relax the muscles around the spine, further reducing pain and muscle spasms. Ongoing chiropractic care helps sustain improved mobility in the spine and may prevent pain from reoccurrences.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Back Pain
Studies show that chiropractic treatments can lead to significant reductions in intensity and disability associated with back pain:
- One review found that over 70% of people with acute or chronic back pain reported improvement with spinal manipulation. The effects lasted up to 6 months.
- Another study reported over 90% of patients were satisfied with their back pain treatment after 10 chiropractic sessions. Mobility was improved and pain decreased.
- Chiropractic outperformed relaxation massage, acupuncture, and medication in reducing chronic back pain intensity in a comparative study.
- Patients receiving chiropractic care along with exercise had less recurrence of back pain than those receiving exercise alone.
Compared to medication or surgery, chiropractic is considered safer, less invasive and cost-effective. Medications can cause side effects, while surgery risks complications and typically only offered as a last resort.
Choosing a Chiropractor
If considering chiropractic treatment, it is important to find a skilled and reputable chiropractor. Be sure to confirm the chiropractor:
- Is licensed with the proper credentials
- Has experience successfully treating back pain
- Uses current diagnostic tools and adjustment techniques
- Customizes the treatment plan to your needs
- Incorporates complementary treatments such as physical therapy, massage and or therapeutic modalities
- Accepts your health insurance coverage
Your first visit will typically involve a physical exam, health history review, spinal assessments, overall physical examination and discussion of your goals. Based on the findings, the chiropractor will outline a treatment plan. This may involve spinal adjustments, therapy or combination of various modalities. Some conditions require several sessions over weeks or even months. Other conditions may only require fewer treatments or even a single treatment.
Safety and Risks of Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic has proven to be very safe, especially when used for back pain management.
Minor side effects may include muscle stiffness, fatigue or temporary pain in the treated area. Serious complications are less frequent and will be discussed with the patient prior to undergoing treatment. Risk is further minimized through proper diagnosis and application of adjustments.
Patients who have certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, spinal cord compression or arthritis, require modified techniques. Discuss any specific risks with your chiropractor and work closely together to ensure your safety.
Integrating Chiropractic Care into Overall Back Pain Management
Chiropractic works best when combined with other approaches as part of a comprehensive back pain management plan. Your chiropractor may suggest:
- Heat or ice therapy to relax muscles in between visits
- Targeted stretches and exercises to build strength
- Massage or other soft tissue work
- Ergonomic advice to improve posture
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Diagnostic Imaging such as x-ray and or MRI
- Consultations with outside medical professionals
Following your chiropractor’s at-home recommendations will support and prolong the benefits from your in-office spinal adjustments. Be sure to discuss all treatments you are receiving for your back pain to ensure proper integration.
Patient Testimonials and Success Stories
The effectiveness of chiropractic care for back pain can be seen through patient testimonials:
“I was having severe lower back spasms that made it difficult to stand up straight. After three chiropractic adjustments over two weeks, my back felt so much better. The chiropractor also gave me exercises to improve my core strength.”Sandra L, age 52
“I have suffered with chronic back pain for over 10 years. Physical therapy and pain medication provided only temporary relief until I saw a chiropractor. My flexibility has improved dramatically and I can golf again because of the reduced pain.”James R., age 67
Chiropractic care offers a safe, non-invasive way to manage back pain. Research substantiates spinal manipulation’s ability to reduce symptoms and improve function. While results vary, many report significant pain relief and improved quality of life.
If considering chiropractic treatment for back pain, be sure to consult with a qualified chiropractor. They can determine if chiropractic methods are right for your condition and integrate them with other therapies. With this comprehensive approach, you may finally find sustained relief from back pain. Call Dr. Dresner now to schedule an appointment at 561-798-9778.
Chiropractic Care for Pains and Illnesses
Aside from back pains, chiropractic care can help with so many types of discomfort and even illnesses. Read more about the benefits of chiropractic care: