Can a Chiropractor Help with Back Pain?
The short answer is: it depends—but very often, yes!
To better understand the ways that an expert chiropractor can help with the process of resolving or eliminating back pain, it’s first important to understand that back pain, and its causes, can vary. There are several different kinds of back pain, originating from different mechanisms in the body: nerve pain, muscle pain, and joint pain, while all potentially interrelated, may not all be treated in the same way. One simple and straightforward method used to determine how best to treat back pain is to understand when the pain began, what triggered it, and where it is located. From there, your expert chiropractor is able to distinguish the critical next steps toward helping you become pain free.
When did the back pain begin?
When determining how to treat back pain, it’s important to identify when the back pain began. In instances where the back has been hurting chronically since childhood, it’s possible that there is a congenital disorder or genetic condition like scoliosis. Scoliosis is a significant curvature of the spine that can cause visible misalignment to the posture, unbalanced shoulders and hips, and in severe cases, compression of the ribcage and some of the organs.
If the back has been hurting constantly for several years, it’s possible that this is due to postural misalignment. Over time, the posture can change as a result of lifestyle and environmental factors. Employment that involves significant amounts of time sitting—particularly if the work environment does not foster proper ergonomic support—can contribute to rounded shoulders, forward head posture (also known as “text neck”), and several other postural imbalances over time.
If the back pain began recently, it may be related to an injury, illness, accident, or stressful life event. In many cases, there may not be an obvious event that precipitated the pain, but looking at larger environmental factors, life events, and wellness considerations often provides important context around the root cause of the discomfort.
What caused the back pain?
In some cases, the cause of back pain is very obvious. In particular, accidents and injuries provide some of the most definitive cases in which back pain is the result of a slipped, herniated, or bulging disc, a sprain or strain, or fractured vertebra. When the cause of back pain is clear, this can be helpful in determining the best course of treatment. For example, in the case of a fall or car accident in which severe impact played a role in the current discomfort being experienced, your expert chiropractor may decide that a gentler, long-term type of treatment like spinal traction may provide more benefit than a controlled thrust (adjustment) to the spine. These types of factors are taken into consideration when determining how to treat your back and encourage as much healing and relief as possible.
Where is the back pain located?
Finally, it’s critical for your expert chiropractor to understand where the back pain you are experiencing is located, to the best of your ability. Sometimes, pain may radiate into other, nearby areas. In the case of nerve pain (particularly sciatic pain), it may radiate all the way from the lower back across the posterior part of the body into the legs. As well as you can, attempt to identify where your back pain originates, and what qualities it embodies. Is it sharp, shooting pain, or is it dull, achey, and cold or hot? These factors help to indicate whether the pain is nerve-related, muscle-related, inflammation/tissue related, or bone and joint-related.
When can’t a chiropractor help?
In very rare circumstances, there are instances where chiropractic care is contraindicated for certain conditions. With regard to back pain, some of these situations may include the presence of bone-weakening illnesses, severe osteoporosis or severe inflammation due to arthritis, and spinal fusion or surgical implants. Each of these contraindications is determined on a case-by-base basis, and it is worth consulting both your medical professional as well as your chiropractor to determine whether chiropractic care would be helpful for you.
How does chiropractic care help back pain?
Once your expert chiropractor understands the origin of your back pain, how long you’ve been experiencing it, and where it is located, they can then go to work determining the physical cause of your pain and the most effective treatment for you. The diagnostic process often includes a thorough set of x-rays, a digital analysis, a hands-on assessment, and a detailed conversation in which pertinent lifestyle factors relevant to the implementation of your treatment plan are discussed.
Chiropractic care can take many forms, not limited to classic chiropractic hands-on adjustments. Your North Alabama Spine & Rehab chiropractor may choose to employ traction, manual tissue manipulation, a series of exercises specific to your body’s needs, or a combination of treatments. At North Alabama Spine & Rehab’s Huntsville and Decatur, AL locations, owner and expert chiropractor Dr. Adam Shafran takes pride in offering completely customized, individual-based treatment designed around your unique experience. With the help of highly trained staff, chiropractor Dr. Shafran of North Alabama is excited to help you and your loved ones find relief from chronic and acute back pain, once and for all. Book your appointment today.