What Does a Back Pain Chiropractor Do?

Does Seeing a Chiropractor for Back Pain Work?

If you’re considering a chiropractor for back pain in Anchorage or Juneau, you may not be sure who to choose. After all, everyone’s back pain is different, and choosing the right medical care isn’t like choosing where to eat; it could have long-lasting consequences. But at Better Health, we treat Alaskans with all kinds of back pain. 

Studies show that seeing a chiropractor for back pain can be extremely beneficial for most people. Plus, there are far fewer adverse effects from conservative care than from surgery or medication. But that doesn’t mean that chiropractic is right for everyone. A small percentage of back pain sufferers may need surgery or medication.

What Studies Say About Chiropractors for Back Pain?

Before we get into more detail about chiropractic care for back pain, let’s look at what some studies have to say. The amount of evidence about the efficacy of chiropractic care continues to grow. Here are a few examples from recent years. 

A study published in 2020 detailed the treatment of active duty military personnel with low back pain by chiropractors. 86% of participants reported chronic low back pain before the study. They were assigned randomly to a wait-list control group or four weeks of chiropractic care. At the end of the four weeks, those in the chiropractic care group experienced a reduction in low back pain intensity and disability. Plus, they saw an increase in strength and endurance.

Another study published back in 2004, found similar results. This study found that patients who saw a chiropractor regularly for four weeks experienced clinically significant improvements in both low back pain and disability. Spinal manipulation and other chiropractic modalities were used. 

What Does a Chiropractor Do for Lower Back Pain?

Chiropractic works by treating any underlying causes of pain that patients experience. Treatments work to reverse the effects of existing pain, relieve pressure in the body, and prevent new pain conditions. Taking an honest look at what may cause the pain is the first step to choosing the best options for healing.

The lower back is a key component of the body. If something is amiss, other portions of the body are likely to respond as they attempt to help the body compensate for the malady. This is why chiropractic care works to promote healing in the body as a unit.

It is beneficial to provide healing from within the body’s own natural mechanisms. This is what chiropractic does for lower back pain. It works by reminding the body of its own innate ability for healing. One way chiropractors do this is with back adjustments. 

Chiropractor Back Adjustment

A cracking or popping sound is normal during chiropractic adjustments. This is the sound of gas escaping from between the spinal joints. This is perfectly normal and is never a cause for concern. Nor can it cause arthritis or any other ailment.

When to See a Chiropractor for Back Pain?

It can sometimes be difficult when to decide that you need to see a chiropractor for your low back pain. Of course, intense pain that interferes with your ability to do much of anything will necessitate an immediate visit, but pain that comes and goes or pain after a sports game might make you wonder if you really need to see a chiropractor right now.

Some signs that you need to see a chiropractor for back pain include:

  •  If you experienced a sudden, sharp pain that doesn’t really subside much
  •  If you were injured in a car accident, boating or skiing accident, or a slip and fall
  •  If the pain is getting worse, not better
  •  If the pain is interfering with your sleep, your daily routine, or you find yourself avoiding certain things because you fear a flare-up
  •  If the pain is consistent or has become worse despite all your efforts (bed rest, ice, heat, etc.) after a week
If you are shaking your head yes to any of the above, it’s time to call our chiropractic clinic today.

Back Doctor vs. Chiropractor

Most people think that it’s a “one or the other” kind of thing with back doctors or chiropractors. And while most patients may not need to see both professionals, the ways that each deals with back pain differs.

Back doctors have a few things they do for back pain. Of course, it all depends on the patient’s diagnosis, but these are overarching treatments:

Back doctors have a few things they do for back pain. Of course, it all depends on the patient’s diagnosis, but these are overarching treatments:

  •  Wait and see.
  •  Medication + wait and see.
  •  Medication.
  •  Surgery.
Some doctors may recommend chiropractic care for their patients, but this is somewhat rare, even though there’s a lot of evidence to support chiropractic care.

Conversely, the doctors at Better Health often work with other specialists when necessary for the optimal health of the patients. Honest recommendations are one of the most important factors of proper medical care in any field.

But treatment factors aren’t the only difference between the two professionals. In fact, one study found that patients with back pain under the care of a chiropractor were more satisfied with their care than those seeing a family physician for back pain. The result was 66% satisfaction with chiropractic care compared to 22% with family physicians.  

Medication vs. Chiropractic Care

Considering the opioid epidemic, it’s no wonder patients are hesitant to take medication for their back pain. Avoiding addiction is an excellent reason for not taking medication — especially when there is another way. 

In fact, there are several studies supporting the use of chiropractic care for pain management and reduction instead of opioid use. One such study found that those with spinal pain who saw a chiropractor were 50% less likely to fill an opioid prescription. The number was even higher among those who saw a chiropractor within 30 days of their acute pain starting. 

But opioid painkillers aren’t the only medications that are prescribed for back pain. A randomized clinical trial compared chiropractic adjustment and muscle relaxants for subacute low back pain. The findings were very interesting, stating that the chiropractic group fared better than both the placebo group and the muscle relaxant group

Beware: the Drawbacks of Surgery and Medication

For most people, the risk of surgery becomes apparent when discussing it with their doctor. Back surgery can take a long time to heal, and the risk of a failed surgery has not declined in recent years, despite advances in medical technology. 

The issue is that many patients simply don’t realize that they should exhaust all options before considering surgery. The recovery time for any type of back surgery is prohibitively long and the risks involved — especially when compared to chiropractic care — are significant. 

One study stated that there are between 25,000 and 50,000 failed back surgeries every year in the United States.

Of course, there are certain instances where surgery is the best option and needs to be done quickly. But for most people with back pain, surgery should be the very last resort. 

The use of medication poses similar problems for patients. Especially pain medication. In fact, the more we learn about opioid pain medication, the clearer things become. One study stated that: 

“Opioids do not seem to expedite return to work in injured workers or improve functional outcomes of acute back pain in primary care.” 

Essentially, they are a way to mask the pain and they do little to eliminate it. The instances of addiction are high among chronic pain sufferers who take opioids regularly for pain management. 

These drawbacks are another reason why many people are seeking chiropractic care. It’s a safe, non-invasive, and drug-free option for the treatment of back pain. One thing it is not is a way to mask the pain. Chiropractors work to get to the root of the pain and correct the underlying problem or problems using natural remedies for back pain

Methods Chiropractors Use for Back Pain

Most chiropractors use a combination of spinal manipulations, patient education, specific mobility exercises, and lifestyle tips for preventing back pain. Our doctors at Better Health have combined these factors with chiropractic massage and physical therapy modalities — all under one roof. Thousands of patients have seen tremendous results from this combination of treatment modalities. Each one has its use during the treatment process and helps to get patients back to their lives as quickly as possible. 

Chiropractor for Upper Back Pain

While lower back pain is more common, many people experience upper back pain as well. Sometimes this is between the shoulder blades or just below the neck. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the back. The upper back is known as the thoracic spine and includes more vertebrae than the lower back or the neck. 

Chiropractic care has been effective in treating upper back pain with a variety of techniques that vary from patient to patient. Spinal adjustments are often used to great effect, as well as physical therapy and massage therapy. The type and frequency of adjustments depend on the patient’s pain and what’s causing it. 

Chiropractor for Lower Back Pain

Low back pain is the most common reason for people heading to a chiropractor for back pain in Juneau or Anchorage. As a result, our doctors at Better Health Chiropractic have developed the proprietary Alaska Back Pain Protocol (ABPP) to help our patients. This approach combines three types of treatment that have individually demonstrated their value for the removal of back pain: chiropractic care, DRS System, and rehabilitative therapy. 

Together these therapies become a powerful source of recovery from lower back pain. Treatments combined into one comprehensive plan, simplifying the healing process for patients. 

What Does the Upper Back and Lower Back Consist of?

When you consider that our spinal anatomy is rather complex, with the back having an intricate web of bones, joints, muscles, soft tissues like ligaments and tendons, nerves, and vertebrae, it only makes sense to seek out chiropractic care for back pain.

To make things a bit easier, the back is typically broken down into four sections. In brief, they are as follows:

  1. Cervical: The neck area, where the weight of the head is supported
  2. Thoracic: The upper back, designed to protect internal organs
  3. Lumbar: The lower back area, increases the range of motion to carry the torso
  4. Sacral Spine: Involves the sacrum bone, connected to the pelvis via sacroiliac joints

The vertebrae in the spine are separated by discs, which are jelly-like-filled “pillows” that prevent the bones from touching each other and to absorb shock as we walk or perform other tasks.

The lumbar spine naturally curves slightly inward. This curve is called lordosis. There are large muscles in the lower back that support the lower spine and allow you to bend and twist. The two lowest sections in this section of your spine bear the most weight and move much more than the other sections. This is why low back pain is more common than the other sections, but those are also prone to injury.

Nearly 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is why most people go to see a chiropractor.

Since chiropractors are highly trained specialists, they can diagnose and treat each section of the spine.

Finding the Right Help for Back Pain

At Better Health we place a high value on each patient’s quality of life for their own benefit and their families. In fact, we like to think of them as our family! Pregnancy, cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and any other sources for lower back pain will receive a specialized and gentle approach for relief and healing with us.

How to relieve back pain fast? See your chiropractor sooner rather than later!

Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab employs a non-invasive, holistic, client-oriented approach to chiropractic care. We welcome clients to inquire about information for which they may be uncertain. We are happy to work with other medical providers to give you the type of care that you most desire. We work to help patients find wellness and lifelong health.

Our Alaska chiropractor locations are in South Anchorage, East Anchorage, and Juneau. Let us help you find out what these advanced treatment options can do for you and your back pain.

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  42. Preventing Back Pain: Tips to Promoting a Healthy Spine | National Spine Health Foundation
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  45. How to Fix Neck and Back Pain While Breastfeeding – Mom After Baby
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