Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain Problems

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reported that about 3 million Australians (13.6% of the total population) have back problems with 2.8 million having back pain problems and disc disorders (12.4%), and an additional 0.2 million with sciatica and curvature of the spine (1.1%). This data is based from the 2011 -12 self-reported figures of National Health Survey (NHS).

Back problems is affecting 25.1% of Australian men and 21.1% of women most common among those aged 65-79 with the least prevalence among people from birth to age 15. Additionally, AIHW analysis of 2011 – 12 ABS National Health Survey reports that the prevalence of back problems was 12.3% in Major cities, 15.7% in Inner regional and 15.2% in Outer regional and remote areas.

What is Back Pain?

Back problems describes pain related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back, which can affect the cervical spine (neck), thoracic (upper or middle back), lumbar (lower back), and coccyx (sacrum and tailbone). Back pain include stiff neck caused by disc degeneration, degeneration of the spine caused by wear and tear on the joints, as well as numbness and weakness in the legs that starts from the lower back. Back problems have many causes:

  1. issues with posture
  2. injuries from accidents
  3. diseases (e.g. osteoarthritis, disc disease, osteoporosis, and some genetic conditions)
  4. other risk factors (e.g. age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, and the type of job)

What causes Back Pain?

Back pain is a symptom of a medical condition. And if you’ve ever had spell of back pain in the past, you are not alone. In fact, it has been estimated that 70-90% of people suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011-12 National Health Survey).

It is important to understand that medical problems can cause back pain:

1. Spine Injuries – Accidents and falls can cause mild to severe injuries. Consequently, sprains and fractures on the spine can cause temporary to chronic back pain. Osteoporosis can also cause back pain since fractured vertebrae results to weal and porous bones.

2. Mechanical problems – How your spine moves can cause back pain. Once common example is intervertebral disc degeneration where the discs located between the vertebrae of the spine are breaking down with age thereby lowering the cushioning their ability. Other mechanical causes include wearing down of the facet joints, ruptured discs, spasms, and muscle tension, as well as poor posture.

3. Acquired Conditions – Scoliosis, various forms of arthritis, spinal stenosis are some examples of medical problems that do not usually cause back problems in the early stages but in later years. Pregnancy can also cause back pains, as well as fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue and widespread muscle pain.

4. Infections and Tumors – Infections and tumors are relatively rare causes of back pain, but when the vertebrae is involved, it can cause pain. Ososteomyelitis is a perfect example because it involves the discs that cushion the vertebrae.

Although the causes of back pain are usually physical, it is important to know that emotional stress can play a role in how severe pain is and how long it lasts. Stress can affect the body in many ways, including causing back muscles to become tense and painful. Untreated depression and anxiety can make back pain feel much worse. Likewise, insomnia, or the lack of sleep, can also contribute to back pain.

 Why choose Chiropractic Care for Back Pain?

Australian hospitals manage back problems in a variety of ways – rehabilitation for reduced functions, patient education and support, pain management, and spinal surgery.

Depending on the cause and symptoms, a conservative case specialist (nonsurgical) such as a chiropractor would be appropriate to consult. Chiropractors take into consideration a patient’s medical history before performing a physical examination. They may use lab tests or diagnostic imaging to determine if treatment is appropriate for the back pain.

A chiropractor’s treatment plan involves a hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments. Spinal manipulation involves restoring mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury (e.g. sitting without proper back support, repetitive stress, and other traumatic events like falling). Aside from manual adjustments that include a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion, chiropractors also consolidate into the treatment plan rehabilitation exercises and nutritional counseling not only for back pain relief, but also restoration of function and prevention of injury.

Chiropractic care is considered safe and effective treatment even for acute low back pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. While spinal surgery is usually the last resort in the treatment of back problems, chiropractors can help treat and prevent future recurrence by being well informed with a patient’s medical history, ongoing medical conditions, current medications, traumatic/surgical history, as well as lifestyle factors.