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Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

There are numerous chiropractic care treatment options that can help relieve your back pain.

Chiropractic care can help address back pain caused by numerous conditions, including the following:

  • back sprain injuries
  • facet joint sprain
  • lumbar intervertebral disc injuries that don't require surgery
  • sacroiliac sprain
  • spinal stenosis

How Does a Chiropractor Diagnose Back Pain?
Before your chiropractor creates a treatment plan for your back pain, he or she will do a thorough exam to diagnose the specific cause of your pain.

To determine areas of restricted movement, your chiropractor will perform physical and neurological exams. He or she may also use motion and static palpation—an examination by means of movement and touch.

The chiropractor will also analyze how you walk, and he or she will look at your overall posture and spinal alignment.

X-rays, MRIs, and laboratory tests may also be used to help your chiropractor diagnose the cause of your back pain.

Once your chiropractor diagnoses the specific disorder (or disorders) causing your back pain, he or she will be better able to create an effective treatment plan for your back pain.

But your chiropractor will also rule out a back pain condition that will require surgery. If he or she thinks your back pain would be better treated by surgery, then your chiropractor will refer you to a spine surgeon.

Chiropractic Treatments for Back Pain
As part of your overall back pain treatment plan, your chiropractor may use a combination of spinal manipulation, manual techniques, therapy instruments, and therapeutic exercises.

Example of spinal manipulation treatments are:

  • flexion-distraction technique, which is a gentle, non-thrusting type of spinal manipulation.
  • instrument-assisted manipulation is another non-thrusting technique. The chiropractor will use a hand-held instrument to apply force without thrusting into the spine.
  • specific spinal manipulation is an active, hands-on treatment that restores movement in the spine.

To treat your back pain, the chiropractor may also use numerous manual therapies. Examples of manual therapies are:

  • instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, which is a technique that involves repeated strokes of the instrument over areas of restricted movement.
  • manual joint stretching and resistance techniques to ease back pain.
  • therapeutic massage to relieve tense back muscles.
  • trigger point therapy, which is a technique that helps the chiropractor identify specific tight, painful points on a muscle.

Various instruments may also be used to treat muscle inflammation. Examples are:

  • inferential electrical stimulation, which uses a low frequency electrical current to stimulate muscles.
  • ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms, swelling, stiffness, and back pain by sending sound waves into your muscle tissues. The specific treatment plan developed for you depends on your diagnosis; these are simply examples of what your chiropractor may do for your pain.

How Does Chiropractic Care Treat Back Pain?
Chiropractors treat the "whole person"—not just your back pain—so that you'll be able to gradually increase your daily activities. Your chiropractor will also emphasize the importance of back pain prevention. With chiropractic care, you'll learn how to prevent your back pain from getting worse as well as how to prevent future back pain.

Updated on: 12/22/11
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