Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain
A 2010 study of diseases found that back pain was the most common cause of missed work in the world. Chiropractic care is a common treatment for back pain as it is highly effective and drug free. Below we discuss why chiropractic care is a great solution for back pain and how we help our patients treat their pain and prevent it from acting up.
Should I Treat my Back Pain with Chiropractic Care?
Choosing the right treatment for back pain can feel overwhelming with all of the different options from surgery and prescriptive drugs to alternative therapies to the endless number of products that promise to relieve back pain. Below are some recent studies that highlight the effectiveness of chiropractic care for back pain.
- Chiropractic Care – Effective Treatment for Back Pain: A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that chiropractic spinal manipulation was one of the few effective non pharmacological therapies for back pain.
- Chiropractic Care – as Effective as Standard Medical Treatment: A study published in the journal Spine, found that chiropractic spinal manipulation relieves back pain just as well as medical care and exercise. Additionally, they found that there is some evidence that it is just as effective of a treatment method as prescription non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs combined with exercise.
- Chiro + Medical Care Leads to Greater Improvement: A 2018 clinical trial among US military personnel found that patients who received chiropractic care in addition to their medical care reported statistically significant improvement compared to personnel that only received medical care.
Chiropractic – A Drug Free Approach to Back Pain Relief
The recent prescription drug and opioid epidemic has caused many healthcare professionals to recommend a drug free approach to back pain. For example, the American College of Physicians, updated their back pain treatment guidelines “to treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies” and listed spinal manipulation as one of the recommended methods.
There are a variety of risks to treating back pain with drugs such as the following:
- Addiction – The opioid epidemic has shown how easy it is for many patients who start taking prescription drugs for pain relief to end up becoming addicted to the painkiller.
- Exercising Too Hard Too Early & Worsening the Injury – Another risk of prescription drugs is that a painkiller may make a patient think the back pain is gone leading them to overextend themselves in a workout which could then cause further injury and delay their recovery.
- Not Treat the Root Cause of the Injury – When patients focus on treating the pain only, which typically happens when patients try to treat their pain on their own with Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve, they often find that the back pain comes back as soon as they resume workouts as they have not treated the root cause of their injury.
How Does a Chiropractor Treat Back Pain?
The first thing we do at Kenilworth Chiropractic for patients with back pain is an exam to begin to understand not just their symptoms, but the root cause of their back pain. This includes both a physical exam, sometimes lab tests and x-rays, and a variety of questions so we know as much about the back pain as possible. We then develop a custom treatment plan for each individual patient. A few of the items that can be included in the plan are:
- Spinal Manipulation – A technique where chiropractors use their hands or other devices to apply a controlled thrust to a joint in the spine with the goal of relieving pressure on joints, reducing inflammation, and improving nerve function.
- Spinal Mobilization – This is a gentler approach than spinal manipulation where chiropractors help patients through slow movements. Similar to spinal manipulation, this technique relieves pressure on joints, reduces inflammation, and improves nerve function, but with spinal mobilization there is no thrust, this technique is performed within a joint’s natural range of motion.
- Muscle Stretching – Many back pain issues are partially a result of tight muscles – both in the back and in the hips, legs, and arms that then cause the back muscles to tighten. Our physical exams identify these tight muscles and we develop stretching programs to help our patients recover.
- Muscle Strengthening – Another common cause of back pain is weak muscles. And this is not just for people who avoid the weight room – there are many very strong people who have muscles in their back, hips, or legs that are underdeveloped which then cause their back pain. We uncover these issues in our initial exam and develop strengthening plans that our patients can do at home to help them recover.
- Nutritional Counseling – If diet or nutrition are identified as causes of the back pain or something that may hinder recovery, we provide nutritional counseling to our patients, helping them to fully recover from the pain as quickly as possible.
How Can I Prevent Back Pain?
If you have had serious back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. So in addition to helping our patients find back pain relief, we also share strategies for preventing back pain with our patients to ensure it does not come back. Below are some of the recommendations we share with our patients as well as recommendations from the American Chiropractic Association and the Mayo Clinic.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet – Back pain can stem from too much weight – the musculoskeletal system can break down when it is carrying an excessive amount of weight. Therefore, we recommend our clients maintain a healthy diet to relieve some of the stress on their back.
- Remain Active – Once patients are back to full health, remaining active helps them keep their back limber, mobile, and free from pain by increasing back muscle strength and endurance. Some of the best exercises for people prone to back issues are low impact aerobic activities such as swimming and walking.
- Warm Up & Stretch – Before starting a strenuous activity, such as a tennis match, a long run, or even golfing, we recommend our patients warm up and stretch their back.
- Improve Office Setup – Many patient’s back pain is a result of how their workspace is set up. For example, if they find themselves slouched all day or looking down at a computer, these can lead to back pain. So we help them figure out how to properly set up their workspace to avoid future back pain.
- Pick the Right Mattress – We recommend our patients sleep on a mattress that is medium firm or harder. This helps keep them avoid issues that can be caused from sleeping with a curved spine.
- Lift with Your Knees – Many back pain issues can be traced back to lifting things such as heavy objects, furniture, and even children with your back. We help people understand the proper technique for lifting heavy objects by bending their knees instead of their back to pick up heavy objects.
- Practice Yoga – For patients that currently have a healthy back, yoga is a great way for them to both build flexibility and strength in their back, which are the foundations of a healthy back.