Total Health

Back Pain

Back pain is the leading cause of workplace disability in Australia and 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, where as 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, that main treatment options 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.

Acute Lower Back Pain

Acute lower back pain is defined as pain that has just occured, typically resulting from a trauma, but also can come on randomly without warning

Acute lower back pain can results 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

Chronic Lower Back Pain

Chronic lower back pain is pain in the lower region of your spine that has been around for 3 months or more. This pain, although can come and go, is often consistent and may range in intensity.

People suffering from chronic lower back pain often report ongoing effects such as:

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

Chronic lower back pain can be the result of muscular dysfunction or tension, postural abnormalities, disc herniations or pathologies and more.

Treatment for Acute and Chronic Lower Back Pain

Across the years there has been numerous debates over what is the best clinical approach for lower back pain compared to others

A study completed in 2018, published in the Spine J (2) showed the 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, where as commonly Chiropractors perform manipulations.

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

To further show the support of ongoing Chiropractic care for lower back pain, a well known, randomised controlled study of high evidence produced in Norway (2) last year 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 lower back pain, and ongoing chiropractic care is recommended to further reduce symptoms long term!

  • 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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