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Chiropractic

Back Pain Chiropractor

Back pain is the leading cause of workplace disability in Australia. Back pain frustrates many people with its consistency, or on the other end of the scale, the frequent episodes they suffer. In the Clinical evidence handbook for Family Physicians (1), lower back pain is defined as either specific or nonspecific. Specific lower back pain is typically from a cause, or known reason, whereas non specific lower back pain is from non-recognisable pathology. In the clinical evidence handbook, they also discuss how over 70% of people in developed countries suffer from back pain, of which 10% never return to work.

For many people, the main treatment options for back pain include acupuncture, exercises, steroid injections, surgery or allied health care such as Chiropractic care. As discussed in the handbook, though there are many good options for treatment, the common approach from medical practitioners of cortisone or steroid injections are no better than sham or placebo treatments.

What are common causes of back pain? 

Causes of low back pain

  • Congenital disorders 
  • Degenerative issues, including degenerative disc disease, spondylosis and osteoarthritis
  • Poor posture
  • Obesity
  • Nerve and spinal cord issues, including spondylolisthesis, herniated discs and sciatica
  • Sprains, strains, spasms and traumatic injuries
  • Non spinal issues, including kidney stones, tumors and pregnancy. 

Causes of mid and upper back pain 

  • Poor posture 
  • Overuse, sprain, strains, falls and other injuries 
  • Obesity 
  • Herniated disc 
  • Degenerative issues, including degenerative disc disease, spondylosis and osteoarthritis
  • Issues relating back to the ribs and where they attach
  • Aging 
  • Fractures 

Acute upper, mid and low back pain

What is acute back pain? 

Acute back pain is defined as pain that has occurred recently, typically resulting from a trauma, but can also come on randomly without warning. 

Acute back pain can result in a range of symptoms, including – 

  • Sharp pain
  • Shooting pain
  • Inability to move or rotate
  • Pain referring down legs
  • Weakness, or feeling of instability
  • Dull, aching nature
  • Pain while breathing
  • Pain referring around the rib cage

Chronic upper, mid and low back pain

What is chronic back pain? 

Chronic back pain is pain in the lower region of the spine that has existed for three months or longer. This pain can come and go, may be consistent and may range in intensity. 

People experiencing chronic back pain often report ongoing effects, such as – 

  • Reduced physical activity
  • Increased number of sick days
  • Reduced productivity around the house

How may Chiropractic care help with back pain?

Across the years there have been numerous debates about what is the best clinical approach for back pain. A study completed in 2018, published in the Spine J (2) showed that Chiropractic manipulation has moderate quality evidence for the treatment and management of lower back pain compared to mobilisations. Mobilisations are typically performed by physiotherapists and osteopaths, whereas Chiropractors perform manipulations.

This study shows the effectiveness of Chiropractic care on back pain.

To further show the support of ongoing Chiropractic care for back pain, a well known, randomised controlled study of high evidence produced in Norway (2) showed that Chiropractic care was far better in reducing the number of days a patient experienced lower back pain rather than a symptom based approach.

These mentioned studies show that specific chiropractic adjustments may be effective in reducing acute and chronic pain, and ongoing chiropractic care is recommended to further reduce symptoms long term.

Chiropractic care aims to help manage back pain by:

  • Reducing tension in tight muscles
  • Increased range of motion in and around the joints of the back
  • Increasing strength in the back and its surrounding counterparts
  • Increasing flexibility of the back’s surrounding  muscles

Sources

  • https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0815/p437.html
  • Coulter ID, Crawford C, Hurwitz EL, et al. Manipulation and mobilization for treating chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine J. 2018;18(5):866–879. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2018.01.013
  • Eklund A, Jensen I, Lohela-Karlsson M, et al. The Nordic Maintenance Care program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain-A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2018;13(9):e0203029. Published 2018 Sep 12. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203029

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