Can a Chiropractor Help with Back Pain?

chiropractor working with back pain

Short answer: Yes! This article explains precisely how a chiropractor can help you manage back pain. 

Back pain is a very common condition. Nearly everyone suffers from back pain at some point in their lives, whether it was caused by sitting too long, overdoing it while exercising, suffering an injury, or even something as simple as having a poor sleeping posture. But only because it is a common condition doesn’t mean that you should ignore back pain and not seek help just because “everybody has it.” 

Now, back pain can manifest in various ways, from sharp pain to radiating pain, sudden weakness in the legs, incontinence, and even numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes. None of these symptoms is something easy to cope with. 

This is where chiropractors shine. 

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals trained to care for a patient’s neuromusculoskeletal system, including bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Using spinal manipulation, a chiropractor also helps manage back and neck pain. In fact, data shows that about 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. And 35% of them do so to seek relief from back pain caused by various conditions, from sports injuries to accidents and muscle strain. 

What kind of care does a chiropractor offer?

Chiropractic care is based on a theory that supports alternative medicine. More precisely, it is believed that the proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, especially the spine, enables the body to heal itself without the need for surgical interventions or medication. The realignment of the spine is believed to reduce pressure on the central nervous system, encouraging self-healing. 

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So, chiropractors manage most spine-related conditions. This can include pain in the low back, the upper back, and the neck. They use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments to help patients with pain relief for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues. 

A chiropractor performs a series of tests to diagnose a patient’s condition, including: 

  • Visual examination of the spine’s position
  • Examination of muscle reflexes 
  • X-rays 

After these tests, the chiropractor performs spinal manipulation, using their hands or specific instruments, to apply force to a joint in the spine and move it in a specific direction for better alignment. 

Besides that, chiropractors also offer treatments like relaxation, stimulation, hot and cold temperature, exercising, and diet and weight loss counseling. 

Signs that you should see a chiropractor

Now, you may be wondering if your back pain could be handled by a chiropractor. More often than not, chiropractic care is the correct answer to your back pain.

But, how do you know that it is time to see a chiropractor for your back pain? Well, there are certain signs that can help you determine that it is time to see a chiropractor, including: 

  • Your back pain persists for several weeks  
  • Your pain is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
  • Your pain spreads down to one or even both legs. Sometimes, the pain can extend below the knee. 
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs. 
  • Back pain is accompanied by unexplained weight loss. 

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should consider seeing a back pain chiropractor to help you manage your back pain and other symptoms. 

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Some risk factors that can lead to developing back pain problems can be aging, lack of exercise, excess weight, improper lifting of heavy items, psychological conditions, and some types of arthritis and cancer. 

Types of back issues that chiropractors treat

Various risk factors cause many types of back pain. A chiropractor can help you with most of these problems, including: 

  • Strained back 
  • Disk derangement 
  • Joint compressions
  • Neck pain
  • Muscle or ligament strain 
  • Bulging or ruptured disk 
  • Arthritis 
  • Scoliosis

What does chiropractic treatment for back pain involve?

Wanting to see a chiropractor and knowing what to expect when you get there are two different stories. Maybe you want to try this alternative pain treatment, but you’re confused about what it involves and what you should expect. So, here are some insights about what chiropractic treatment for back pain involves

First, the chiropractor will begin with an assessment and a physical exam of your posture, muscle strength, arm and leg mobility, and anything that may be out of the ordinary, such as a shoulder or hip out of alignment. 

Next, to access various areas of your body, the chiropractor may position you in different ways and perform various techniques, most of which rely on gentle manipulation. Your chiropractor will realign your spine and joints using controlled force. In this case, learn that you may hear some popping and cracking sounds. Don’t worry! This is a normal thing. Most patients experience immediate relief and see their health improve. 

Depending on your condition and your chiropractor’s assessment regarding the causes of your pain, you may also be given:

  • Nutritional supplements to promote healing and overall wellbeing
  • A change in diet
  • Recommendations for exercising
  • Hot and cold packs 
  • Electrical stimulation 
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The benefits and potential risks of chiropractic care

Spinal manipulation and chiropractic care are generally considered safe and effective treatments for severe low back pain, neck pain, and headaches. There are several studies suggesting that people who undergo chiropractic treatments for at least six weeks of treatment reported less pain intensity, less disability, and improvement in function and reported needing less pain medicine. 

Yet, some risks can exist in chiropractic care. For example, chiropractic treatment has worsened a herniated or slipped disk in some rare cases, and neck manipulation resulted in a spinal cord injury.

Wrapping up

Chiropractic treatments have been shown to be effective in reducing pain among people with various back problems. If you experience back pain, too, don’t ignore it. And, if you decide to seek alternative treatment for your condition, make sure that you find a chiropractor you like who makes it convenient for you to visit. Remember that back pain management is an ongoing relationship with your chiropractor, so you want to choose the right person from the start. 

Dr. Chad Larson DC

Chad Larson is a chiropractor who serves both the Lincoln and the surrounding areas in NE. Dr. Larson seeks to improve his chiropractic patients’ health and wellness in all areas of their lives. With a patient centered focus, he likes to treat the “whole person” in his work as a chiropractor, which means looking for the underlying cause of disease.

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