Can You See a Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain?
Our lower back pain chiropractor researched the the Australian Bureau of Statistics and found that 4 million Australians suffer from back problems, including lower back pain. It’s so common that it’s been estimated that 70-90% of people will eventually suffer from it during their lifetime.
Lower back pain varies in intensity. It ranges from being mild, and a bit irritating, to quite severe and debilitating. So, can you see a chiropractor for lower back pain? Let’s take a look.
What is Lower Back Pain?
The lower back, or lumbar, plays an important part in our lives. It bears most of the body’s weight and helps to support some of the stress that comes from lifting and carrying things. Given the role our back plays in our daily lives, it’s in our best interests to look after it.
There are several risk factors that increase the chance of lower back pain occurring, These can be our fitness level, weight and age.
As we get older, we may find our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be. This can lead to fractures and reduced muscle tone and elasticity. When this happens, the discs in the spine begin to lose flexibility and fluidity, and their ability to cushion the vertebrae is impaired.
Lower back pain has a variety of causes including poor posture, strains and sprains, traumatic injuries, spinal cord and nerve problems, pregnancy, and other issues that might not seem immediately apparent, such as kidney stones and shingles.
Can a Chiropractor Help with Lower Back Pain?
So, can a chiropractor fix lower back pain or do you need a massage?
The short answer is yes; a chiropractor can effectively find the source of your lower back pain, and then work to treat and relieve your discomfort.
Firstly, let’s explain exactly what chiropractic care is and how it works.
Chiropractic care is dedicated to the non-invasive, non-surgical treatment of conditions related to the nervous system and musculoskeletal systems. Chiropractors generally focus on spinal manipulation and treating surrounding muscles and structures.
Research has shown us that the hands-on therapies used in chiropractic treatments can effectively treat lower back pain, lumbar herniated discs, neck pain, and a range of other conditions.
It’s recommended that you check in with your doctor to rule out anything serious that may be causing the pain.
Once you have ruled out any underlying conditions that may be causing your pain, you can consider visiting a chiropractor.
What Can a Chiropractor Do for Lower Back Pain?
A chiropractor can determine the cause of your back pain and perform techniques that will help to treat and relieve your back pain.
Chiropractors use a range of specialised treatment devices, as well as manual, exercise and diet-based treatment methods to help treat your lower back pain. In other words, chiropractors provide a holistic approach to treating your lower back pain.
Chiropractors and Sciatica Lower Back Pain
Sciatica is a type of back pain that occurs when your sciatic nerve becomes pinched.
The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back right down past the hips, and down each leg. When you experience sciatica pain, you may feel it through the entire length of the nerve or in a particular area.
Sciatica pain is most commonly experienced on just one side of the body. Patients often describe the pain as an electric shock-like sensation or an aching pain. In some cases, sciatica pain can cause the affected leg and foot to feel numb.
So, what causes sciatica pain?
Typically, sciatica pain is caused by a herniated disc. When it becomes herniated, the disc in your spine puts pressure on the sciatic nerve which causes pain. It may also be caused by a bone spur pressing on the nerve, or because your spine had narrowed and is putting pressure on the nerve.
In most cases, sciatica will resolve on its own. However, if the pain is persistent and it goes untreated, sciatica can cause permanent damage to the nerve. In severe cases, this can lead to a complete loss of feeling in the affected leg and incontinence.
Chiropractic care is an effective treatment for sciatica. It can help to reduce your pain without the use of medication.
As mentioned, chiropractic care is primarily focused on spinal manipulation and additional manual therapies that work to relieve pain. As chiropractic care is holistic, the treatments focus on your entire body as opposed to just the particular pain area.
At your initial consultation, your chiropractor will ask about your pain, medical history, diet, and lifestyle. They may also take X-rays of your body to determine what’s causing your pain. They will ask you to complete a series of mobility, flexibility, and orthopedic tests, and use their hands to palpate your spine.
These actions will help them create a personalised treatment plan.
As for treatment, your chiropractor will likely apply controlled pressure to your joints and take you through various stretches. They may utilise a number of techniques such as
- Spinal adjustment
- Soft tissue massage
- Heat and cold therapies
- Spinal decompression
- Ultrasound to increase circulation and reduce pain
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Unit, which is a muscle stimulating machine
Your chiropractor may also recommend exercises for you to complete at home to keep up the momentum of your treatment. If necessary, they will also be able to provide dietary and wellness advice to help relieve your pain.
You will likely need to visit your chiropractor multiple times for treatment to be effective.
A 2015 review of several studies found that chiropractic care does indeed provide relief for sciatica.
Many people turn to chiropractic care as it is a more appealing option for long-term pain relief than taking medication daily.
Chiropractors for Non-Specific Lower Back Pain
Non-specific lower back pain refers to tension, aching, or stiffness in the lower back area that cannot be attributed to a specific tissue source.
This diagnosis can only be reached once all of the necessary exclusionary medical tests have been completed.
Generally, non-specific lower back pain originates in the musculoskeletal structures, including the joints, discs and connective tissues. In some cases, multiple structures may be contributing to the pain.
When patients visit a chiropractor for non-specific lower back pain, the main goal is to prevent chronic pain. The treatment plan will typically be broken down into two phases: the initial therapeutic phase and the maintenance phase.
In the initial appointment, your chiropractor will discuss the goals of the treatment plan with you. They will then guide you through different activities to provide pain relief.
Typically, your chiropractor will gradually increase the manual therapy and activity across multiple sessions. They may recommend over-the-counter medication, heat and cold treatments, and gentle exercise in between sessions. They will also offer you advice on daily movement.
You will then likely head in for another appointment in the next few days for follow-up treatment. Your chiropractor will also explain their expectations for recovery. During these follow-up appointments, your chiropractor will begin to use different techniques, including
- Spinal mobilisation
- Spinal manipulation
- Soft tissue massage
As you progress through treatment, your manual therapy will continue alongside structured exercises to improve your mobility and functional movement.
While every case is different, most patients can expect to be discharged from treatment within 3 to 6 weeks. However, recurrences of lower back pain are common, therefore you may be asked to return for maintenance treatments to ensure your pain stays away.
Chiropractic care carries a low risk of adverse reactions or side effects, and it is safe to continue receiving chiropractic care long-term.
When Should I See a Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain?
Many people wonder when they should see a chiropractor for their lower back pain. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms for longer than a week, it is recommended that you seek treatment.
- Constant pain, especially when lying down
- Very intense pain
- Pain down one or both legs
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs
- Redness or swelling at the site of the pain
- The pain is coming from hard tissue rather than soft muscle tissue (i.e. massage therapy and heat therapy are not helping)
If you are experiencing the below symptoms, seek emergency care or call 000.
- Back pain after a serious accident or fall
- Incontinence that is new for you
- A temperature
- Unexplained weight loss
The Best Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain
When it comes to finding a chiropractor for lower back pain, the most important thing to look for is experience and expertise in the space.
Dr Steven Lockstone leads the team at MyChiro and is one of the most experienced chiropractors in Sydney.
Dr Steven has more than 20 years of experience in chiropractic care. He is responsible for training and mentoring many of Australia’s top chiropractors, and has assisted more than 3000 people during his career.
Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain Relief
It’s important to look after our backs. After all, they literally carry us through life. If you’re experiencing pain, whether it’s mild or more severe, it’s time to see a chiropractor for lower back pain relief.
Make a booking to see us at MyChiro so that we can make your pain a thing of the past.