Helping patients with back pain has been the “bread and butter” of chiropractors for many years now. Still, when it comes to low back pain treatment, patients are still confused as to what they should do first and what happens if initial treatment options don’t work.
First of all, low back pain is the first symptom of many different conditions. Just saying you have pain in your lower back does not guarantee that a chiropractor can help your problem.
Initially, we’ll do a consultation where we listen for indicators that your condition can be helped with chiropractic care. After that, we’ll do a physical examination that consists of orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic tests. Each of these tests are done by hand and help us isolate where the pain is coming from.
We’ll also check range of motion and feel along your spine to pinpoint where the pain is coming from. It’s during this process that we’ll make a determination as to whether radiographic examination (x-ray) will be necessary.
Once we work through the consultation and examinations, and have determined that you are a good candidate for chiropractic care, we will begin your low back pain treatment. Your care program will consist of chiropractic adjustments, muscle work, stretching, electric stimulation and mechanical traction.
While the adjustment is the foundation of your care, the other complementary modalities are helpful in reducing pain, inflammation, and swelling to help with the healing process.
If you do not respond quickly to care (at least a 50% reduction in your symptoms after the first two weeks), we will look to refer you to a medical doctor for medications and an MRI examination to look for disc herniation or other pathology.
Depending on the results of your examinations and additional medical intervention, you will continue with chiropractic care. If you’re still not progressing, the next step is usually a round of injections into the affected area.
It’s only once all treatments have been exhausted that surgery should be considered. In our office, we find that about 80% of patients respond to conservative care, with only about 1% every needing surgery. The medications prescribed by the medical doctors are typically anti-inflammatory in nature and go a long way in alleviating your symptoms while we work on the structure of your spine to keep this from becoming a problem that comes back.
Surgery is no guarantee of pain relief, and should be considered as a last option.