Low Back Pain and Chiropractic Treatment


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a document Acute Low Back Problems in Adults: Assessment and Treatment, which states that “Low back problems affect virtually everyone at some time during their life.” While this document published by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, claims that low back pain is the most common cause of disability for persons under age 45, it also recognizes the value of spinal manipulation as a safe and effective treatment for individual suffering with acute low back pain. The American Chiropractic Association has stated that about 40% of this same population has visited a chiropractic physician for health care services. In spite of managed care regulations, which have made it more difficult for many of their subscribers to access chiropractic benefits, more and more Americans seek chiropractic health services as an alternative to drugs and surgery for relief of their low back pain problems.

Evaluation and Management of Low Back Pain

Chiropractors are trained to perform an initial assessment that seeks out potentially dangerous underlying conditions that may be the cause of low back pain. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a focused medical history and physical examination are sufficient to assess the patient with acute or recurrent limitation due to low back symptoms of less that 4 weeks duration. All chiropractic physicians are trained to perform these examination procedures in order to rule other potentially serious conditions, such as fracture, tumor or infection, or serious neurological conditions. Special types of medical evaluation, which include x-ray examinations, MRI, lab analysis of blood and urine, and many other types medical examination may be ordered by your chiropractic physician in order to rule out diseases that may cause low back pain. Fortunately, it is rare that serious diseases are the causes of low back pain.

Management procedures utilized by chiropractic physicians include spinal manipulation, which is often referred to as chiropractic adjustment of the spine or other joints, and many different types of physical medicine procedures, exercise and postural recommendations, dietary advice, and general health care advice. It is not unusual for the chiropractic physician to recommend smoking cessation, use of vitamins and minerals, proper hydration, regular exercise, and a positive mental attitude. Some chiropractors are also trained to provide acupuncture, herbal, naturopathic and homeopathic medicine in order to relieve low back pain. It is wise to investigate whether the individual is a licensed chiropractic physician. Finally, you should realize that the level of training of a chiropractor might vary significantly. Check out the level of training of a doctor of chiropractic medicine prior to making your initial appointment.

Specialized Training of Chiropractic Physicians

Normally, after completion of undergraduate requirements, chiropractic students complete 4-5 years of training at a orthopedics, neurology, nutrition, radiology, sports medicine, internal medicine, manipulation-under-anesthesia, and pediatrics, rehabilitation. If your chiropractic care has not provided you with relief of your low back pain, you might ask your chiropractor for a referral to a chiropractic specialist. Don’t forget that you can always request a referral from your medical doctor to a chiropractic provider.