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Chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment option for a range of back conditions including muscle, joint and nerve pains. Learn more about chiropractic for lower back pain…
What does chiropractic for lower back pain involve?
Before chiropractic treatment takes place, the patient is taken through a thorough assessment to find not only the source of symptoms (e.g. the muscle, nerve, or joint causing pain) but also to find the underlying cause.
In most cases, the cause of a lower back problem is distant from the lower back itself and therefore the whole body must be assessed. Asymmetries, weaknesses and restrictions in other areas of the body are commonly result in overload of the lower back which overtime leads to pain. Only by treating the the local symptoms and the underlying cause will long term relief be achieved.
How does chiropractic for lower back pain work?
Restriction in the movement of the lumbar facets (the joints of the lower back) or the sacroiliac joints (the joints linking the spine with the pelvis) is a common source of lower back pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a very effective approach to restore proper movement to these joints and to reduce local back pain.
Restriction in other areas of the body can also result lower pain pain. For example, restriction in the middle back or hips can cause compensed over-extension of the lower back. This over-extended position causes compression of the joints of the lower back which overtime may result in pain. For example, compare the lower back posture in these two tennis serves:
Here you can is a neutral position of the lower spine (green line) with extension coming from the middle back and hips, sparing the lower back.
This tennis player has a much more extended (or arched) position of the lower spine (orange line) which is often driven by restriction in the hips or middle back. Chiropractic manipulation can restore movement to these restricted areas, unloading the lower back and reducing pain.
Soft tissue work
Triggers points or ‘knots’ in the muscles of the back can cause local lower back pain. Trigger points in other areas of the body (e.g. the hips) can also cause pain referred to the lower back. A range of soft tissue approaches such as active release, trigger point therapy or ischaemic compression can be used to treat these muscles to relieve lower back pain.
Dry needling is a therapeutic technique using an acupuncture needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate the underlying tissue. Dry needling is very effective at treating deep trigger points in the muscles of the spine and hips.
Stretches and mobilisation exercises can be used to relieve pain and promote healing in the early stages of treatment. Later, exercise can be progressed to improve strength, mobility and muscle balance to correct underlying dysfunction and aid in full recovery and prevention. In the tennis example above, mobility exercises for the middle back combined with specific trunk and hip stabilisation exercises would help unload the joints lower back for long term pain relief and future injury prevention.
Is chiropractic for lower back pain safe?
Yes. Chiropractic is widely recognised as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of nerve, muscle and joint complaints. Most patients experience immediate relief following chiropractic treatment for lower back pain however, some may experience mild soreness, stiffness or aching, just as they might after exercise. Current research shows that this discomfort typically fades within 24 hours.
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This post was written by Steffen Toates. Steffen is a chiropractor at Dynamic Health Chiropractic in Jersey, Channel Islands. For more infomation about Steffen click here.