Your Goal: A Healthy Back
Your chiropractor can work with you to relieve your back pain and advise you on proper back care. You can also learn ways to make back problems less likely to occur. For best results, follow up with your chiropractor as instructed.
What You Can Do
Practice good posture and body movements. This means keeping your ears, shoulders, and hips in line whether you’re sitting or standing. Avoid twisting, prolonged sitting, and improper lifting. And ask your chiropractor about exercises to improve back strength and flexibility.
When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
Caring for Your Low Back
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. This pain can occur due to injury or normal wear and tear. It can also result from using your back too little or too much. Poor posture or repeated actions add to the problem. This includes sitting at the computer for long hours or lifting incorrectly. Over time, the muscles, joints, and bones in your low back are stressed. Pain often results. Your chiropractor can help relieve back pain by aligning the spine. He or she can also teach you the best ways to move to help prevent future back problems.
Your low back is one of the three natural curves of your spine. It gives your body support and balance so you can move freely and without pain.
Your Chiropractic Evaluation
Your chiropractor evaluates you to learn more about your back problem. Imaging tests, such as an x-ray or MRI, may be done.
You’re asked about your pain, symptoms, past injuries or treatments, and overall health. You’re also asked about your daily life, including work, exercise, hobbies, and diet.
Your chiropractor examines your back and checks the alignment of your spine. This helps locate areas of pain, stiffness, muscle spasm, and limited movement. Your posture, muscle strength, flexibility, and reflexes are also checked.
Your Treatment Plan
Your chiropractor works with you to create a treatment plan suited to you. This likely includes a hands-on technique called manipulation. Other treatment methods also help. In addition, you’re taught ways to care for your back.
Manipulation (also called adjustment) improves joint flexibility and spinal alignment. During manipulation, your chiropractor carefully applies pressure to affected areas of the spine.
The following treatments may also be used to manage your back problem:
- Heat to relax muscles and ice to reduce swelling.
- Trigger point therapy to reduce tension and pain in tight muscles.
- Massage, ultrasound, and muscle stimulation to relax muscles, reduce muscle spasm, and improve blood flow.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
- Traction for joint flexibility and disc health.