Back pain is the second most common ailment affecting Americans (second to headaches) according to the NIH (National Institute of Health). Most cases of back pain are "mechanical" in nature. This means back pain may come from physical causes such as lifting boxes, working in the garden, playing a game of pick-up basketball or even a sudden jolt when you trip over a crack in the sidewalk. Sometimes back pain may develop for no reason and gradually gets worse over time until simple activities such as sitting, standing and walking becomes difficult. With the proper help from a spine specialist, your back pain treatment should be able to alleviate your pain and help you enjoy life again.
Chiropractors are the primary providers for non-surgical treatment of spine and disc disorders. Several studies have supported the use of chiropractic spine manipulation to provide moderate relief from low back pain and appear to be as effective as conventional medical treatments. In 2007 guidelines, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society include spinal manipulation as a treatment option for doctors to consider when back pain does not improve with self-care. In a recent Consumer Reports Review chiropractic back pain treatment was rated the best treatment for back pain compared to other common interventions.
A herniated disc, pinched nerve, or muscle spasm can cause pain, weakness and altered musculoskeletal function. Chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine using their hands and or specific tools to allow joints and muscles to move correctly. Chiropractic spine treatment was rated the top lower back pain treatment in a recent Consumer Reports Review.
Chiropractic manipulation therapy is not just for the spine. The general public's perception is chiropractors are "back and neck doctors". In fact, chiropractors also treat extremities which include ankles, knees, hips, ribs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and the jaw. Extremity joints can also become misaligned and develop pain, muscle spasms, and swelling. Chiropractic manipulation therapy can improve the biomechanics of the extremities.
Most back pains are physical and mechanical in nature. While medications are helpful for decreasing inflammation and relieving pain, a physical treatment approach will address the cause for the pain and prevent further injury. Chiropractors use spine manipulation to treat the problematic joints and muscles causing the back pain. Spine manipulation is typically performed with the doctor's hands but special tools may also be used to to restore movement to the back, relieve pain, and facilitate the healing process. Movement is necessary for healing and quick recovery by lubricating the joints and improving blood circulation to the surrounding muscle tissues. After mobility is restored, the back can be trained through strengthening and flexibility exercises to prevent re-injury.
Spine manipulation is safe and effective when performed by a trained and licensed chiropractor. The most common side effects are minor and include temporary discomfort in the treated area.