Chiropractors effectively treat lower back pain by pairing a variety of treatments and techniques. All American Healthcare chiropractic offices use natural pain management techniques including chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, spinal decompression, active release technique, massage therapy and the Graston technique. Let’s take a deeper dive into how to effectively treat lower back pain. -All American Healthcare
What is Low Back Pain?
Low back pain is pain that resides in the lower lumbar region of your back located below the ribcage. The lumbar region of your back is responsible for structural support, movement and protection of delicate body tissues. Back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. Over three million workers will suffer from back pain this year alone.
Back pain symptoms can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing sensation that can make it difficult to move, walk, or stand. Acute back pain can appear suddenly and will often heal itself. Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than three months and can last years. Chronic lower back pain may be mild or excruciating and can be caused by a variety of reasons.
If you are suffering from chronic or acute back pain, consult with a local chiropractor. If you are suffering from severe back pain due to a fall or injury, you should be checked out by a health care professional immediately.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Low back pain is often associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints; however, back pain can also be caused by injury due to muscle strain, irritated nerves, slipped discs, or degeneration of disks or joints. Your back is a complex system of nerves, muscles, and bones, and any irritation in this support structure can cause back pain and disrupt your quality of life.
- Sprains and strains account for most acute back pain injuries due to overstretching, tearing ligaments, or muscle strains when twisting or lifting.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration is a common mechanical cause of low back pain that occurs when the disc in your vertebrae becomes weak due to aging. As discs deteriorate, they lose their “cushion” or padding.
- Herniated or ruptured discs occur when the disc becomes compressed and tears causing it to bulge out or herniate.
- Sciatica is compression on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, traveling from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down to the feet. When the nerve is compressed, it can not only cause pain but also numbness or weakness in the back of the leg or foot.
- Traumatic injury from sports, care accidents or falls can injure the tendons, ligaments and muscles in your back. A traumatic injury may also cause spinal compression and neck pain which can lead to a herniated disk.
- Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that places pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.This can cause lower back pain and numbness.
- Scoliosis, or another skeletal irregularity, can cause back pain due to misalignment.
Chiropractors treat back pain by first identifying the underlying cause of the pain, then addressing those issues with natural pain management techniques including chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, spinal decompression, active release technique, massage therapy and the Graston technique.
What is the Structure of the Lower Back?
The lower back, or lumbar region, is made up of five vertebrae referred to as L1-L5. This region of your back supports much of your upper body weight and is responsible for structural support, movement and protection of delicate body tissues. The lumbar region consists of intervertebral discs, ligaments, and nerves.
Discs serve as pads, or “cushions,” between the vertebrae in your spine. These pads absorb shock to help minimize the impact of stress placed on the spinal column. The center of the disc is capable of rupturing, causing a herniated disc. If the disc herniation is large enough, the disc tissue can press on the adjacent spinal nerves causing irritation and pain. The most common location for a herniated disc is between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae of the lower back.
Bands of tissues known as ligaments hold vertebrae in place while tendons attach muscles to the spinal column. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord which control body movements and transmit signals between the body to the brain.
Do Natural Pain Relief Techniques Work?
Natural pain relief has proven to be effective in treating chronic low-back pain. Studies have shown that chiropractic patients experience better overall outcomes in pain management, functional disability, and patient satisfaction. Additionally, chiropractic manipulation has shown to be safe and effective.
“Patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians.” -The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
How to Effectively Treat Lower Back Pain: 6 Chiropractic Treatments
1. What is Chiropractic Manipulation?
A chiropractic manipulation, often called a chiropractic adjustment, is a common treatment for lower back pain. Chiropractic adjustments are manual manipulations that involve applying pressure to the spine and surrounding tissues to eliminate misalignments in the spine that cause nerve irritation.
2. What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is usually paired with other techniques to treat lower back pain and includes stretching, strength exercises and low-impact cardio. This rehabilitation technique can help strengthen the muscles in your back and help those whose back pain has left them inactive for a long time.
3. What is Spinal Decompression?
Spinal decompression reduces pressure and irritation on the nerves between your vertebrae and is commonly used to treat lower back pain due to degenerative spinal discs, disc herniations, and spinal stenosis. Spinal decompression involves stretching the spine using a traction table or similar motorized device in order to relieve pressure on compressed nerves, tissues and discs. This technique can ideally help pull herniated disc material back into the disc and help regenerate injured discs and tissues. Patients should not feel pain during or after the decompression therapy although they should feel a stretch in the spine.
4. What is Active Release Technique?
Active Release Technique is a soft tissue system and movement based massage and physical therapy technique that reduces pressure with muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This technique is used to treat muscle pulls or tears or overused muscles that are not getting enough oxygen. Active release technique can also be used to treat other conditions such as headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow.
5. What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy promotes relaxation, relieves stress, and reduces pain by restoring healthy blood flow to injured areas of your body and lowering blood pressure. Massage therapy is often paired with exercise and stretching to relieve chronic lower back pain.
6. What is the Graston Technique?
Graston technique reduces pressure on your muscles tendons and ligaments and is often used to regain strength and motion from an injury. Graston technique uses tools to locate and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function. Scar tissue, also known as fascia, is located just under the skin and connects to the surrounding muscles, bones and nerves. If the scar tissue is unable to stretch and move, it can tear resulting in pain, soreness and limited flexibility. The majority of patients usually receive two treatments per week over four to five weeks.