You’re not alone if you’ve ever seen or need to see a chiropractor for lower back pain. An estimated 85% of people who experience severe back pain see a chiropractor for lower back pain at some point. Yet, despite how common it is, the exact cause of pain is often unclear. And a single, best treatment for the majority of low back pain is unknown.
For these reasons, experts’ recommendations often vary. “Standard care” includes a balance of rest, exercise and stretching, heat, pain relievers, and time. The great news is that whatever treatment is recommended, most individuals with a recent onset of back pain are better within several weeks — usually within a few days.
Chiropractic care is a gentle and non-invasive way to treat pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. Although it’s not addictive like opioid pain relief medications, once you have had your first upper or lower back adjustment, you may find it difficult to go without them!
Can Chiropractic Care Help?
A licensed chiropractor for lower back pain will adjust the body to improve alignment, ease pain, and restore spinal or joint movement. That is called spinal adjustment. Recent research shows that it can work as well to relieve pain and discomfort as drugs and surgery and is safer.
The chiropractor gives the patient exercises to help improve alignment (posture) and prevent injury. They also promote healthy behaviors such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
Chiropractors offer a variety of tests and treatments. The American Chiropractic Association urges patients to talk with their healthcare provider to ensure they get the tests and treatments they need.
What Is Chiropractic All About?
Did you know that this kind of treatment dates back to the 1890s? It’s true! Perhaps due to that longevity, chiropractic is widely considered a safe, effective alternative or complement to traditional medical care — for certain issues.
Chiropractic relies on the notion that physical issues can be traced back to a musculoskeletal system that’s out of whack. Those who practice it are especially focused on the spine. That makes sense, given the important role that the spine plays in supporting the body and allowing it to move properly.
Chiropractors use what is known as manipulation or an adjustment. That guides the spine and other regions of the body back into alignment. Manipulation is gentle, though it may sound alarming to the uninitiated: the sound of a patient’s back and other joints cracking could be a bit concerning. However, most of the chiropractic advocates say that it doesn’t hurt. On the contrary, most people say that an adjustment feels fantastic at the moment. It could also help to relieve both chronic acute and pain.
Chiropractic Addresses the Entire Body
How common is chiropractic care? Approximately 22 million Americans visit a chiropractor for lower back pain each year. Of that number, about a third — 35% — do so hoping to find relief for their back pain.
Nevertheless, chiropractic adjustments can be effective for many different issues. These include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Upper back, shoulder, and neck pain
- Arm and leg pain
Chiropractic care also helps alleviate tension and stress. It has even been shown to improve the immune system. Many people who do not suffer from chronic pain visit a chiropractor for lower back pain regularly. They want to keep their body aligned and allow their energy to flow freely.
It may not seem as though cracking your spine or moving your limbs about could help with problems arising elsewhere in the body. Nevertheless, chiropractic care is holistic and affects the entire system. You might be astonished at the difference it could make in your physical well-being!
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
What is the difference between these two types of pain? Chronic back pain usually results from a disease like arthritis, neuropathy, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. It’s generally defined as lasting for more than six months. Acute back pain, on the other hand, happens when you lift a heavy object and strain a muscle, slip, fall on an icy sidewalk, get tackled in a friendly football game, or experience another kind of accident.
Acute pain often subsides within a few weeks but may resolve more quickly with treatment. Some ways to address and alleviate acute pain are chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy, aqua therapy, electrical stimulation, and cold or heat therapy.
Although many patients feel that they should stay immobile and rest when experiencing pain, that’s not the best approach. Even though it might be tempting to lay in bed, relax on the couch, and have others wait on you, that may do more harm than good. Moving around sends nutrients and blood to the affected area. That, in turn, helps keep inflammation at a minimum and prevents additional muscle tension.
It’s important to realize that narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxants, and even over-the-counter analgesics will not help a patient’s pain to resolve. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can reduce inflammation; otherwise, these medications will only mask the problem.
Treating Pain and Stiffness with an Adjustment
There are numerous types of pain that a patient could experience in their lumbar region or lower back. Stabbing or sharp pains, a persistent dull ache, a burning sensation, and spasms are all very common. It relies on whether the injury is to the nerves, muscles, joints, tendons, or other non-muscular soft tissue.
Another common condition associated with lumbar injury or strain is reduced mobility and stiffness. It might hurt to move certain body parts in certain ways, or you might be unable to bend over, reach for an item, or roll over in bed.
Chiropractic care does double duty regarding acute pain. Not only does it alleviate the symptoms of stiffness and pain, but it also works to correct the underlying problem. In other words, it’s a win-win.
During the Lower Back Adjustment
So what takes place during an adjustment? You would be requested to lie down on a special table. The chiropractor for lower back pain would manipulate your limbs to stretch your muscles and stimulate joint release — the popping or cracking sound. It’s just like cracking your knuckles, but on a larger scale. That is normal and harmless.
They may bend your joints or position you in a certain way and hold that position for a little while. Try to relax, don’t tense up your muscles, and let them do the work. The practitioner might focus on your lower back, but the adjustment may involve the entire body.
A chiropractor for lower back pain sometimes performs manual therapy, therapeutic massage, or myofascial release to complement the spinal manipulation. Or they may refer you to a practitioner specializing in those treatment forms.
When Should I Consult a Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain?
With so many contributing factors, you might feel like having back pain is just a normal part of life. But it could be prevented in some cases, and seeing a chiropractor for lower back pain could help get you back on your feet.
Regular exercise, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and being mindful of your posture while standing and sitting can help prevent or reduce back pain. If the lumbar pain has persisted for more than several weeks, if it’s severe, and if it extends past the lower back and into your legs, it’s a great idea to seek a chiropractor for lower back pain.
What are the Lower Back Pain Treatments?
Lower back pain treatment is highly individualized and depends on a range of factors for each patient. Spinal mobilization might be used as a treatment for some patients experiencing lumbar pain. That is a more gentle chiropractic technique involving lower velocity stretching of the muscles and joints. Most treatments typically involve spinal or manual manipulation, otherwise known as a “chiropractic adjustment.” A correctly aligned spine has improved overall bodily function, allowing vertebrae, joints, muscles, and organs to function as they should. Spinal alignment is attained through manual manipulation, wherein the chiropractor for lower back pain would gently thrust, stretch, and apply pressure as they see fit until your body is properly aligned.