One of the most prevalent health problems affecting many people in the modern world is back pain. In fact, statistically most people will experience significant back pain at least one or more times in their lives.
While doctors of chiropractic treat other health issues aside from back pain, many patients visit a chiropractor to find relief from this pervasive condition and seek back pain treatment.
- Worldwide, back pain is considered the single leading cause of disability. The condition also prevents many people from engaging in work as well as typical day-to-day activities.
- Experts estimate that as much as 80 percent of the population will suffer from back pain at one point or another.
- Many cases of back pain are mechanical in nature. In other words, they are not caused by serious conditions like infection, fracture, inflammatory arthritis, or cancer.
- Low-back pain has cost Americans around $50 billion in health care costs annually. If decreased productivity and lost wages are added into the equation, the figure can rise to as much as $100 billion. It is undoubtedly having similar impact on developed economies around the world.
The back is a complex structure of joints, ligaments, bones, muscles, and nerves. Many conditions can result in back pain—sprained ligaments, ruptured disks, irritated joints, strained muscles, and compressed nerves to name a few.
While accidents or sports injuries can result to back pain, in some cases even the simplest of movements like picking up something from the floor can trigger an existing condition. In addition things such as obesity, poor posture, psychological stress, and arthritis can either cause or further complicate back pain.
Back pain can also be the direct result of disease of the internal organs like kidney stones or infections, referred pain from other organs, nutritional deficiencies and bone loss, among others. Therefore it is crucial not to begin any course of treatment until a proper analysis of your condition has been conducted. Our chiropractors are trained in the United States, whereby they receive extensive education in diagnosis, and will refer any cases of back pain not within our spectrum of care to an outside medical specialist when needed.
However, the vast majority of patients we see with back pain are often suffering from poor biomechanics brought on by our everyday lives. Our body slowly accumulates stress from our daily repetitive movements, prolonged sitting, poor posture, and too much time on our handphones as primary examples.
Thankfully our well-trained chiropractors are uniquely educated and positioned to help the vast majority of patients with back pain to feel better safely and effectively.
Chiropractors treat many different types of back pain conditions including:
- Lumbar strain/sprain injuries.
- Degenerative arthritis (spondylosis) of the back
- Lumbar intervertebral disc injuries (bulging or slipped disc)
- Nerve compression including sciatica
- Facet joint syndrome
- Slouched or poor posture
- Numbness or tingling in the legs or feet due to lumbar degeneration
- And more!
In the past, chiropractic was often ostracised by the medical community and many patients were simply put on medications to cope with their problems. However, in recent years there exists a growing body of research and mainstream institutions who now advocate that chiropractic care should be a primary intervention strategy for most cases of musculoskeletal pain.
Research has shown that for many patients with mechanical lower back pain, those who first sought help from chiropractic (as opposed to a general medical practitioner or orthopaedic specialist) had a significantly lower chance of ending up on medications or going for surgery. Furthermore, the chiropractic group enjoyed better outcome measures and missed fewer days of work due to injury/illness.
The intelligent choice for those who are suffering from back pain would be to consult a well-trained, modern chiropractor that will not only treat the back pain but will also provide lifestyle strategies to help protect the spine and the body over the long term.
Prior to providing back pain treatment the spine as a whole will be evaluated. This is done to assess if other regions of the neck (cervical), low back (lumbar), and mid back (thoracic) are affected. In addition to treating the spine as a whole, chiropractors will treat the “whole person” as opposed to just the specific symptoms.
That means in addition to providing effective back pain treatment, patients may be educated on stress management, nutrition, and lifestyle goals and modification strategies.
Before the right treatment approach to back pain is determined, a thorough examination is done to identify the specific cause(s) of your pain. Areas of restricted movement will also be taken into account. The spinal alignment, mechanics and the overall posture will assessed as well. The exams will give our chiropractor a better understanding of the patient’s body mechanics and most likely contributing factors to their condition.
In addition to the physical exam, the patient’s past medical history will also be looked into. An imaging test (i.e. MRI or X-ray) may also be ordered to accurately pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain and to help determine the extent of damage which has accumulated.
Moreover, proper imaging may reveal postural deviations which may predispose you to higher likelihood of future wear and tear that could be avoided with the right strategies in place.
A thorough and proper diagnostic process will help to give us all the information needed so a customised treatment plan can be created for you. If a patient’s back pain condition is unlikely to be helped by our methods or requires surgery, patients will be referred out for an orthopaedic evaluation.
Chiropractic treatment for back pain may involve a combination of manual therapy, spinal manipulation, and other techniques.
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques. Has been known to help minimise neck pain and other symptoms.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy (IASTM). Our chiropractor makes use of special instruments to diagnose and treat muscle tension and scar tissue.
- Trigger point therapy. Used to relieve those painful and tight points within a muscle or near muscle insertion points.
- Specific spinal manipulation. This gentle thrusting technique (often with associated “popping” or “clicking” sounds) has been known to effectively restore joint movement and reduce pain.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation. A handheld instrument is used to help the chiropractor apply sufficient force to mobilise joints without thrusting into the patient’s spine.
- Flexion-distraction technique. A hands-on and gentle spinal manipulation that will involve pumping action on the intervertebral disc rather than applying direct force.
- Rehabilitative exercise. Critical to restoring proper long-term movement patterns, posture and reducing the likelihood of relapse.
- Electro-myotherapy. A low frequency electrical current is used to stimulate the neck muscles for pain relief or muscle activation in some cases.
- Low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Also known as cold laser therapy, LLLT has been shown to reduce inflammation, help minimise pain, and accelerate the body’s natural healing process.
- Radial shockwave therapy (RSWT). FDA-approved and non-invasive, this treatment makes use of abrupt pulses of mechanical energy. Apart from treating injuries to the bones, soft tissues, and joints, shockwave therapy has also been used to ease certain symptoms like muscle cramps, loss of range of motion, loss of flexibility, and muscle spasms.
- Non-surgical spinal decompression (NSSD). Our modern generation decompression machines use state-of-the-art algorithms to gently, safely, and effectively reduce pain caused by degenerative disc disease (bulging or “slipped disc”) and aid in the rehabilitation of these issues.
At Elite Spine Centres, we don’t just want to help our patients get out of pain, but we want to teach them how to retain long lasting results and optimise their health which goes well beyond pain relief.
Therefore, all of our patients will receive simple but effective daily exercises and lifestyle advice to minimise further aggravation of their condition and increase their strength and flexibility of the affected areas over time. In short, our patients progress from passive treatments to a more active role which is crucial to their long-term success.
Our caring and compassionate doctors and staff are here to help guide you along every step of the way towards decreased pain and symptoms, improved function, and optimum quality of life for you moving forward!