Chiropractic Care to Manage Chronic Low Back Pain

Living with chronic low back pain can be a difficult challenge. However, chiropractic care may help manage symptoms. This article reviews some of the chief goals of treatment and management options used by a chiropractor are covered.

Man holding his low backLow back pain (LBP) is not necessarily an acute problem that goes away within 6 weeks. Chronic pain can persist at least as long as 12 weeks, even indefinitely. This can require patients to receive additional chiropractic care, along with any other medical services they may need.

Goals of Chiropractic Care
Regardless if the pain is chronic, acute, or recurrent, chiropractors share the same treatment goals.

  • Minimize the patient's time lost at work
  • Support the patient's current level of function
  • Control and relieve the patient's pain
  • Minimize the risk for further functional decline or disability
  • Minimize exacerbation frequency and severity
  • Maximize satisfaction
  • Reduce and/or minimize the reliance on medications

Initial Treatment
Like many other modern medical practices, the chiropractic profession emphasizes the use of evidence-based methods that have been shown to be safe and effective.

High-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) manipulation techniques are typical for treating low back pain. This manual therapy is one of the oldest techniques used by the chiropractic profession, whereby the clinician uses their hands to apply a short, quick thrust to the spine to try to restore its mobility and function. The technique has variations, as well, like using body positioning or special tables and chairs to facilitate a different manipulation approach.

However, an initial course of chiropractic treatment can vary, especially if a patient has complicating factors. Some patients may have comorbidities, like severe osteoporosis, a progressive neurologic disorder, or an inflammatory condition. These are conditions, or "red flags," that contraindicate high-velocity manipulation to the lumbar spine.

To find out more about the risks associated with chiropractic care, click here.

This series of articles about chiropractic care for low back pain contains information cited from a recent update in recommended treatment guidelines published by the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP). All authors and panelists involved in the publishing of the new updated guidelines stated receiving no compensation from any organization. There were no conflicts of interest reported.

Updated on: 03/22/16
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