How Chiropractors Help & Treat Lower Back Pain
Wondering how chiropractors help and treat lower back pain?
You’re not alone.
Whether you’re in Downtown Toronto or elsewhere in the GTA, a chiropractor can help with you with low back pain relief.
If your low back is absolutely killing you, and your internet-diagnosing coworker has helpfully suggested you might have a deadly virus, please don’t obsess about it; most back pain does not result from serious underlying illnesses, though it may feel awful and cramp your style in more ways than one.
The fact is that back pain, while very common, isn’t very well understood; the vast majority of patients with acute and chronic low back pain never even discover its cause.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to be done about your back pain! It is absolutely possible to effectively treat low back pain regardless of its origins, even if those remain obscure – and chiropractors are the doctors with the training, technical know-how and practical experience to provide low back pain relief.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
While it can be very difficult to identify the precise cause(s) of low back pain, some common reasons for it have been identified:
- Mechanical pain: pulled muscles and stretched ligaments connected to the spinal vertebrae. Can be the result of movements like bending, twisting, lifting, sleeping in an awkward position, improper posture etc.
- Pinched sciatic nerve
- ‘Slipped’, herniated and torn discs, which can result from an injury such as a fall or a motor vehicle collision
- ‘Referred pain’ from hips, ankles and feet that affects proper function of the spine and central nervous system, resulting in lower back pain
- Bone fractures
- Underlying medical conditions such as tumours, disease or infections (relatively rare)
If you visit your GP with a low back pain complaint, he or she will likely do a full diagnostic work-up to rule out underlying problems.
After blood work and a thorough physical examination that includes your abdomen, back, legs and reflexes has been completed, additional tests, such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, may also be ordered.
It’s important to note that these methods often cannot detect soft tissue damage such as that caused by pulled muscles and ligaments.
If your back pain has lasted more than 16 weeks, continues no matter what position you are in (sitting, standing, lying) or is accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, fevers or chills, it’s important to visit the doctor immediately to rule out more serious causes. The same is true if you have recently sustained trauma or injury, even if it’s not to the back – or if you have other risk factors, like having a history of cancer or neurological problems.
Once more serious causes for your low back pain have been ruled out, you then have a choice: to treat your symptoms with painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, suffer stoically until the pain subsides, or get to the core of your back pain and begin to eliminate it safely and effectively with the help of a lower back pain chiropractor.
What Can Chiropractic Do for Back Pain?
Millions of visits to chiropractors are logged in Canada each year.
But, what exactly do chiropractors do for back pain?
Chiropractic is a proven, drug-free health care alternative that uses hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments to properly align the spine and the body’s musculoskeletal structure so that it can heal itself, without invasive surgery or addictive medications.
Because chiropractors are trained for at least four years in how to manipulate the musculoskeletal system for health, chiropractic is a highly controlled treatment that can produce extremely positive results in patients suffering from lower back pain as a result of traumatic events (like a slip and fall) or repetitive stress (such as daily sitting with poor posture).
With manual chiropractic adjustment (manipulation), the chiropractor typically uses his/her highly refined skills to manoeuver the spine and joints to reduce pain and restore mobility to joints that have been restricted by tissue injury.
While chiropractic is certainly complementary to conventional medical treatment, it is a very popular standalone pain relief alternative for lower back pain and other body pains originating in the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues, because it is drug-free, recognized as safe, and generally produces very positive patient outcomes.
How Chiropractors Treat Lower Back Pain
Chiropractic treatments for lower back pain are tailored to the specific condition diagnosed by the chiropractor.
As such, low back pain treatment will vary depending on each person’s individual situation, within generally accepted protocols and guidelines.
First, the chiropractor will document a patient’s medical and health history, lifestyle factors, and perform a comprehensive physical examination which may include diagnostic imaging, to determine what treatments are appropriate.
This first diagnostic appointment may take upwards of 90 minutes because chiropractic is considered holistic medicine – the whole body, not just the isolated back pain but the entire situation, including any mental or emotional factors such as chronic stress and depression, are taken into account.
Ultimately, the chiropractic treatment plan may involve manual cervical and lumbar adjustments (with hands and/or assistive devices) in which the low back pain chiropractor manipulates the joints to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors, true to the holistic nature of this medical discipline, also incorporate nutritional counseling, stretching and exercises for the patient to perform at home.
Benefits of Chiropractic for Lower Back Pain
The overarching theory behind chiropractic is that the body possesses its own healing energy; this has been blocked by poor alignment and, once proper alignment is attained, will naturally flow to heal tissue damage and prevent recurring injury.
The goal of chiropractic care is, of course, relief from your lower back pain and full restoration of function.
Chiropractic care also has these benefits:
- Reduced risk of re-injury due to restored function and improved habits
- Relaxation of tense muscles
- Relief for acute back pain (such as that sustained in a sudden injury)
- Reduction in referred pain, such as neck pain, hip pain and headaches
- Relief from chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia
- Reduction in occurrence of degenerative diseases
Get Chiropractic Treatments for Lower Back Pain
Millions of Canadians turn to chiropractors each year for relief from back pain, as it is a highly regulated field with well-trained practitioners.
At Integra Health Centre, our capable team of chiropractors is trained to manage and assess all muscular, spinal, joint and nervous system injuries, as well as provide symptomatic relief for patients suffering from chronic conditions.
It’s important to find out whether chiropractic care is right for you; people with certain medical conditions, or who take certain medications, may be recommended to seek alternatives to chiropractic.
Book an appointment with a member of our interdisciplinary team to discover whether chiropractic can help you beat lower back pain and get moving again!