Back pain is responsible for 65 percent of disability claims and is a leading cause for missed work and school days. While most people head to their family practice doctor for back pain relief, they might have better results with a chiropractor. 

What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are primary care doctors, just like medical doctors or doctors of osteopathy. They're licensed to practice in all 50 states and are educated just as rigorously as medical doctors.  But instead of focusing on drugs and surgery like traditional doctors, they focus more on anatomy, physiology and rehabilitation. They do lab work, x-rays and other diagnostic studies, just like medical doctors. 

Chiropractic is a drug-free approach to health care that focuses on the musculoskeletal system, nervous system and how these affect general health. Chiropractors believe in the body's natural ability to heal itself. Patients most commonly see chiropractors for back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches, though chiropractors can treat other disorders. Treatment consists of spinal adjustment or manipulation, rehabilitative exercises and nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. 

How Do Chiropractors Treat Back Pain? 

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), back pain is often caused by mechanical problems.Chiropractors find the cause of the pain and treat it directly. This may include realigning the spine or extremities by chiropractic adjustments (spinal manipulation), physiotherapy for the muscles and ligaments, rehabilitative exercises, or a combination of these. They also recommend exercises and lifestyle changes to prevent future backaches. Patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back pain often feel improvement shortly after starting treatment.

Do Chiropractors Adjust the Spine?

By using their hands or a device, chiropractors apply a controlled force to a joint and move it beyond its passive range of motion. This sometimes causes a pop or cracking sound that can be startling, but isn't dangerous. It's just gas bubbles being released into the fluid that surrounds the joints.

Does it Work?

The ACA says back pain relief is often greater after a month of chiropractic treatment than after seeing a family physician. According to the National Institutes of Health, chiropractic adjustment is a safe treatment that provides mild-to-moderate back pain relief that's as effective as conventional treatments by medical doctors and rarely causes side effects.  Chiropractic treatment is now included and recommended in standard medical guidelines for back pain treatment.

Considering how safe chiropractic is and how many patients give chiropractors glowing reports, it might be just what the doctor ordered to relieve an aching back.


The Mayo Clinic

Chiropractic Adjustment

National Institutes of Health

National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain

The American Chiropractic Association