Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Acute back pain usually improves on its own after approximately 6 weeks, but it can also sometimes become chronic. Chronic back pain can be debilitating and can stop sufferers from being able to work, take care of their homes, or do the things that they enjoy. Chronic back pain is notoriously difficult to treat and so sufferers can be faced with a lifetime of pain and disability.
Acute back pain
Acute back pain is usually caused by an injury that damages part of the musculoskeletal and nervous system structure that makes up the back. This can include pulled muscles, torn tendons or ligaments, pinched nerves, or damage directly to the spine.
The first port of call is usually testing to find out what damage may be causing the back pain, including x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the damage is difficult to find using these tests and the cause of the back pain will remain undetermined, especially if it is due to damage to the muscles of the back rather than the spine itself.
Treatment for acute back pain
The first line of treatment is to rest for a short period, although bed rest is no longer recommended as this can make back problems worse, followed by stretching, application of a hot or cold treatment, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Long-term, exercises that help to strengthen the muscles in the back can help to stop back pain from becoming chronic.
How can chiropractic care help?
Chiropractic care focuses on correcting a misalignment of the neck and spine, which reduces pressure on the muscles, connective tissues, and nerves in the back. Alongside this, chiropractic care can include other techniques to stabilize the back and spine, including strengthening exercises, massage, stretching, trigger point therapy, and active release technique (ART).
The American College of Physicians recommends chiropractic care as an effective alternative treatment to drugs for acute lower back pain.
Chronic back pain
Common causes of chronic back pain include
• muscle and ligament strains that have become chronic
• bulging or herniated discs in the spine
Treatment for chronic back pain
Treatments for chronic back pain will depend on the cause of the pain and can include bracing, surgery, drug treatment, exercise, stretching, and strength training.
How can chiropractic care help?
Chiropractic care can help stop the sufferers of chronic back pain from needing surgery or other invasive measures, through a combination of treatment measures focused on the specific cause of the back pain. Treatments can include:
• trigger point therapy
• active release technique (ART)
• spinal manipulation
• posture correction
• nutrition counseling
• hot and cold therapy
• deep tissue massage
The chiropractic clinician will work with the patient and the results of any diagnostic tests to determine a treatment plan that will help to manage their back pain and improve their quality of life.
Chiropractic care can be an important part of the treatment plan for both acute and chronic back pain and can help to provide patients with relief for their pain and reduce their level of disability.