Treatments for Low Back Pain
Doctors of chiropractic are the health care leaders in the treatment of low back pain as well as other spinal conditions. Treatments are gentle, safe, natural, noninvasive and highly effective. Also, the treatments are designed to correct the root cause of your problem and not simply cover up the symptoms you experience. In fact, a Canadian government commissioned study on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain concluded,
"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."
- The Manga Report
- Identifying The Cause
- The Treatment
- Proper Habits and Techniques
- Other Therapies
- How To Maintain A Healthy Lower Back
Identifying The Cause
The first step in treating low back pain is to determine what has and is causing the low back pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate the pain and achieve the goals of the patient.
Most individuals experiencing low back pain have a combination of:
- vertebral subluxations
- faulty spinal biomechanics
- deconditioned and weak spinal musculature
- improper firing patterns of spinal musculature
- poor postural habits
- poor diet and nutritional practices
- a history of activities (work or play) generating high levels of spinal stress
Chiropractic doctors have successfully treated low back pain for over 100 years. Through the use of natural and safe procedures, chiropractors correct the underlying problems which cause and contribute to the majority of low back pain cases.
The main treatment employed by the chiropractor is the chiropractic spinal adjustment. This noninvasive therapy consists of a gentle, manually or mechanically applied force into the segments of the spinal column. Spinal adjustments have been shown to decrease pain, increase spinal range of motion, decrease muscle spasm, reduce inflammation, optimize spinal biomechanics, and reduce the recurrence of old injuries.
Clinical practice guidelines for the management of acute low back pain released by the US Department of Health and Human Services (AHCPR) stated:
- Conservative treatment such as spinal manipulation should be pursued in most cases before considering surgical intervention;
- Prescription drugs such as oral steroids, ad antidepressant medications are not recommended for acute low back problems.
- The risk of serious complications from lumbar spinal manipulation is rare
- Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Bigos S, et al. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Publication No. 950642 (1994) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to researcher Pran Manga, PhD,
"Spinal manipulation applied by chiropractors is shown to be more effective than alternative treatments for low back pain. Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are clearly inadequate."
- The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain (The Manga Report). Pran Manga and Associates (1993) - University of Ottawa, Canada.
Proper Habits and Techniques
Another key ingredient to a successful low back pain treatment plan includes the learning of proper postural habits and other techniques. Proper posture is a significant factor in the health of the back and proper posture should always be practiced. Techniques common to daily living and work also play a major role in the development or lack of development of low back pain. This includes proper lifting techniques, avoidance of repetitive motions, avoidance of prolonged sitting, and much more. We can teach you correct habits and techniques which will protect your back from discomfort and injury.
Other manual therapies such as massage, trigger point therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and acupressure therapy may be utilized to assist in the relaxation of lumbar muscles and increase lumbar spine mobility.
Low back stabilization exercises are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from low back pain. These exercises are designed to teach the patient a "neutral spine" position as well as subconsciously enhance the muscles ability to stabilize and protect the spine from injury. Exercises and stretches are unique in that they can be performed outside the office without the assistance of the doctor.
Physical therapies may also be employed and include hot and cold applications, muscle stimulation, interferential therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and diathermy.
Diet and nutrition also play a key role in the health of the spine. Without the proper nutrients, the lumbar spine and rest of the body are less able to remain healthy and heal once injured. If your diet and nutritional status is poor, we can help get you on track.
How To Maintain A Healthy Lower Back
Regular spinal checkups. Maintaining proper alignment and functioning of the lower back through periodic spinal adjustments minimizes the stresses to structures of the lower back. Also, keeping the nervous system free from interference ensures proper communication between the various structures of the lower back.
Proper lifting and ergonomics. Practicing proper lifting techniques and ergonomics are key in preventing lower back injury at work and preventing future recurrences of old injuries.
Regular exercise. Routine physical activity keeps the heart healthy and keeps the spine and the rest of the body strong and healthy. A minimum of 3 times per week for 40 minutes should be your goal. Involve friends and family, mix up the activities, keep it fun and stay consistent!
Proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the proper fuel increases performance, reduces the likelihood of injury and sickness, speeds recovery after injury, and keeps you feeling good. If, like the rest of us, you're finding it difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs, it's probably time to supplement.
If you're suffering from low back pain, join the millions of other individuals who have benefited from gentle, safe and natural chiropractic care. Our treatments provide fast, effective relief which not only eliminates pain, but can help increase the performance and health of the entire body.