Can A Chiropractor Help Your Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a very common condition that most people experience at some point in their lives.  In the United Kingdom, almost 10 million Britons deal with lower back pain daily and it is now considered to be a leading cause of disability by medical experts.

Fortunately, there are some very effective treatments available for lower back pain.  One of the most best options is chiropractic treatment.  It involves the non-surgical manipulation of the spine to correct alignment issues and ensure the body’s musculoskeletal structure is correct.  This article will explain how a chiropractor can help you alleviate lower back pain.

Common causes of lower back pain

There are multiple potential causes of lower back pain, but the most common include:

Strains or tears in muscles and ligaments (mechanical pain)

Many people suffer from lower back pain because they have injured the muscles or ligaments in their back.  Often, this has occurred from sports injuries, picking up heavy objects, lifting while twisting the spine, or a serious accident.  Damage to your muscles and ligaments can even be caused by sleeping in an awkward position or having improper posture for many years.

Slipped (herniated) disc
The spinal column consists of a series of bones that are stacked upon one another.  It includes bones in the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum, and coccyx.

Each bone is cushioned by a disc, which helps your body absorb shocks.  The discs have two sections — a soft inner section and an tough outer ring.  If a disc has been damaged or weakened, the soft section may push through the tough outer lining.  This is called a herniated or slipped disc.  It can be very painful and cause inflammation in your lower back.

Pinched sciatic nerve
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body.  It consists of many nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back.  If a part of the sciatic nerve is compressed by a poorly aligned spine or an injury, it can cause a significant amount of back pain.  The pain from a pinched sciatic nerve can also appear in the buttocks and legs.

Referred pain

Referred back pain is pain caused by the legs, ankles, feet, and hips that affects the back.  This can often be corrected by improving a person’s posture.

How can a chiropractor help your lower back pain?

Chiropractic treatments involve a hands-on manipulation of the body to properly align the spine and the body’s musculoskeletal structure.  This helps the body heal without the need for surgery or medication and can relieve lower back pain. 

Chiropractors often perform a spinal adjustment to realign the spine and surrounding muscles.  This procedure involves the use of controlled force to the joints of the spine to bring the spine back into its natural position.  This kind of procedure can restore mobility, help the body heal and relieve pain in the lower back.  

Some of the techniques that may be used by a chiropractor when performing a spinal adjustment include:

  • Direct thrust technique
    The chiropractor uses high velocity force to realign a specific part of the back. This is what people commonly called having your back cracked.
  • Functional technique
    Force is gradually applied to a joint until a release is felt and the joint is re-aligned.
  • Table adjustments
    The chiropractor may use a table with a drop piece that releases when they apply pressure to the spine.
  • Pelvic blocking
    The chiropractor places wedges under the patient’s body, then gently moves a spinal disc away from a nerve. The wedge helps the chiropractor move the spine with less pressure.  This technique is often used to treat a pinched sciatic nerve or slipped disc.
  • Articulatory
    The chiropractor will move joints through their full range of motion.

Over the years, various studies have looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for dealing with lower back pain.  One study, published in 2013, found that chiropractic treatments significantly decreased pain and improved function in military veterans suffering from back pain.

Other studies have found that:

  • Chiropractic treatments produce equivalent or superior results compared to other treatment methods like medication and exercise for lower back pain relief.
  • Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy in conjunction with standard medical care offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning.
  • Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians.

If you are suffering from lower back pain, consider visiting a chiropractor.  They may be able to correct any issues that you are experiencing and help you enjoy life without lower back pain.

Recovering from a Back Injury: Our Newcastle Under Lyme Chiropractor Outlines What to Expect

back care advice from our chiropractor in newcastle under lymeMany of the patients who visit our Newcastle Under Lyme chiropractors come to us as a result of a back injury. The back is an intricate structure of muscle and bone, which is supported by ligaments and tendons and nourished by a network of blood vessels and nerves. It also bears a significant amount of the body’s weight and is subsequently prone to injuries – especially in the lower back.

Two of the most frequent back injuries that we deal with include sprains and strains. But what exactly are these commonly-heard complaints and why do they occur?

Back strain is a term used to describe an injury to either a tendon (the tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones) or a muscle. A strain is usually diagnosed if the spine-supporting muscles and tendons are pulled, torn or twisted.

A back sprain, on the other hand, involves the ligaments that support the spine. Ligaments are the fibrous bands of tissue that connect two or more bones at a joint and prevent the joint from moving excessively. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn.

The symptoms of a sprain and a strain are often similar with the majority of patients experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Muscle cramping or spasms
  • Difficulty walking, bending forward or sideways, or standing straight

If you suspect that you have sprained or strained your back, you should stop doing the activity that caused the injury and rest for the first day or two. Ice packs and compression can be effective in reducing painful symptoms.

You should then try to return to normal activities 48 hours following the injury, as despite what many people think, staying inactive for too long can prolong symptoms and slow down your recovery period.

Most people with back strain/ sprain will see a significant improvement in their symptoms in about two weeks. But you should contact your doctor or chiropractor if your symptoms continue for longer, your pain is too severe to return to your normal activities after 48 hours or your symptoms or pain worsen at any time.

You should contact your health care provider immediately after the injury takes place if:

  • You have severe pain and cannot walk more than a few steps.
  • You have numbness in the area of injury or down your leg.
  • You have injured your lower back before.
  • You have a lump or area that looks like an unusual shape.
  • You have pain that interferes with sleep.

Our chiropractors are here to help you, so contact us for advice.