How Often Should You See a Chiropractor For Back Pain?
Back pain is an extremely common condition. Whether your routine involves heavy lifting and physically demanding tasks or sitting at a desk for long periods of time, there are a number of day-to-day activities that can trigger or exacerbate a back problem.
Pain in the spinal region is notoriously debilitating and can significantly interfere with an individual’s quality of life. Chronic back pain is particularly distressing.
If you are suffering from acute or chronic back pain, it’s extremely important to have this seen immediately. Chiropractic care has long been proven to help relieve back pain and help patients get back to living comfortably.
So, how often should you see a chiropractor for back pain? In this guide, we take a look at how chiropractors can treat your pain, and explain how frequently you’ll need to visit for long-lasting relief.
When to See a Chiropractor for Back Pain
If you are concerned about your back, struggling with pain, or dealing with chronic pain that has lasted for more than six weeks, it’s time to see a chiropractor near to your home or work.
It’s important to book an appointment if one or more of the following statements applies to you:
- Your pain makes everyday activities difficult
- The problem is worsening
- Your pain is frustrating
- You are fatigued from the pain
- You find it difficult to get out of bed due to pain
- The pain is affecting sleep, work, and exercise
- Previous pain treatments not working
Can a Chiropractor Help With Chronic Back Pain?
Yes, chiropractors can help with chronic back pain.
By definition, chiropractic care is the dedicated, non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions. Chiropractors mainly focus on resolving issues in the spine and surrounding muscles that may be causing acute or chronic back pain or neck pain.
There are a number of chiropractic treatments that can help you manage your chronic back pain by targeting the source of the problem.
Back pain can be broken down into two categories: intractable pain and chronic pain.
Intractable pain is severe, constant pain that significantly affects your day-to-day life and is debilitating. This type of pain is usually treated using strong medications and surgery rather than chiropractics.
Chronic pain is ongoing and lingers beyond an expected time frame. It doesn’t respond to typical pain management techniques. Chiropractic care can be used to treat chronic pain through the use of non-invasive modalities, including spinal manipulation, soft tissue massage, and exercises.
Chiropractors can help to treat and manage chronic back pain conditions including sciatica, spondylosis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and kyphosis.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment Involve?
Your chiropractor will begin with a physical exam and will ask you a few questions about your medical history, pain, and lifestyle.
They will also ask you to complete physical and laboratory tests, which will help them to diagnose your pain.
The chiropractor will then develop a treatment plan, which may involve one or more of the following chiropractic therapies:
- Spinal and manual manipulation – This treatment is also known as a spinal adjustment. Your chiropractor uses their hands to improve the function of your spine as well as the range of motion in your back. They do this by applying a controlled force to the spine.
- Mobilisation – Your chiropractor will use low-speed manipulation movements and stretching of the muscles and joints to increase the range of motion in those areas.
- Soft tissue techniques – This involves gentle muscle manipulation techniques, including massage, to release tension in certain areas.
- Activity modification – Your chiropractor will advise you on changes to your day-to-day activities to alleviate discomfort and pain and aid recovery.
- Physiological therapeutics – This technique involves using ultrasound and laser to assist in spinal and muscle recovery.
- Orthotics – Your chiropractor may fit you for orthotics to help support alignment and improve posture.
- Drop piece table technique – This involves the use of a specially designed table to mobilise your joints.
- Stretching – Your chiropractor will guide you through various stretches to lengthen and release muscle tension.
Your treatment plan will be tailored to your specific pain profile and may change over time depending on your needs.
How Often Should You See a Chiropractor for Back Pain?
Wondering how often you’ll need to see a chiropractor for bad back pain?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Your chiropractor will consider your pain levels and your specific condition to determine how many visits your back pain requires.
Some conditions will require weekly sessions, while others will be best managed with bi-monthly visits.
It’s important to remember that back pain cannot be completely healed in one session. You will need to head in for multiple sessions, and the appointments during your initial treatment period will occur on a regular basis.
For acute lower back pain, patients will typically complete six to 12 sessions over two to four weeks.
Chronic back pain usually requires an initial intensive treatment plan of two to three visits per week for two to four weeks.
After this initial treatment period, your chiropractor will determine whether or not you will require maintenance appointments. They may be recommended once or twice a month, or only if you experience a flare-up.
Maintenance treatments have proven to be particularly effective in people suffering from chronic back pain.
Research has shown that when patients with chronic lower back pain are treated by chiropractors, long-term outcomes are improved by regular spinal manipulation after the initial manipulative therapy period.
Your treatment will be most effective if you do your part in between sessions. This means keeping up with exercises and any lifestyle changes your chiropractor has recommended.
Can a Chiropractor Make Back Pain Worse?
It’s a common misconception that chiropractic adjustments can make back pain worse.
When performed by a trained professional, chiropractic care should not make your back pain worse.
You should feel little to no pain during your chiropractic adjustments. However, you may experience some discomfort following your appointment.
Think of your adjustment like a visit to the gym after a long break from exercise. After that first workout, your muscles will experience soreness. This indicates that they are recovering and strengthening.
Similarly, after your chiropractic session, your muscles will need some time to adjust. This means that you may notice some discomfort while your body gets used to being properly aligned.
After your sessions, you may notice:
- Mild soreness – During a chiropractic adjustment, your vertebrae are moved back into a healthy alignment. The nearby muscles supporting the spine will also adjust to provide stability. This can cause soreness as your muscles heal and learn how to support your spine better. This initial pain typically resolves 12 to 48 hours after the adjustment.
- Cold symptoms – You may experience head cold symptoms after an adjustment. This is because a spinal adjustment essentially kickstarts your body’s immune system. This means your body will begin to flush out toxins that don’t belong in your body. In other words, any sneezing and coughing you may experience are signs that your body is ridding itself of nasties!
- Digestive changes – Your digestive system is connected to the vertebrae in your lower back, which is why it’s common for spinal adjustments to cause changes in bowel habits. If you usually suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or constipation, you may notice more regular bowel movements after your adjustment.
These minor side effects typically resolve in a few days following your treatment.
Be sure to drink lots of water to hydrate your muscles and joints, and chat with your chiropractor about ways to manage these changes between appointments.
MyChiro: Your Chiro for Back Pain
If your back pain is causing you frustration and distress, it’s time to have it addressed by a professional.
At MyChiro, our team of expert chiropractors use the latest healing technologies to treat your pain. We ensure that we get to the root cause of the problem and deliver a comprehensive, personalised treatment approach.
You can book an initial consultation with us to hear more about how we can help relieve your pain.
Back Pain Chiropractor Near Me
Wondering where to find us? Visit us at our Bondi Junction clinic.