Chiropractic Lower Back Pain Surprise

chiropractic adjustment

Is a chiropractor a good choice for chronic back pain?

A chiropractor is often the first choice for those seeking relief from lower back pain. And for good reason.

Chiropractic is a natural and non-invasive form of therapy that allows your body to naturally heal itself by removing interferences in the nervous system caused by spinal misalignments, called subluxations.

But is a chiropractor really your best resource when it comes to chronic lower back pain?

Last month a review of 26 randomized controlled trials was published in Spine. Combined they examined over 6,000 patients with chronic lower back pain given either spinal manipulative therapy or a placebo treatment.

What the review found is surprising to many.

While chiropractic combined with other treatments was found to enhance pain relief in the short term, by themselves, spinal manipulations were no more effective than placebo treatments over the long term for treating chronic lower back pain.

The real question is whether chiropractic is a viable option at all for lower back pain.

Well, the review found chiropractic to be clinically no different than other interventions reviewed for reducing pain or improving function. While the study’s authors stressed the cost-effectiveness of care as having a high priority, I’d recommend a different approach.

Since chiropractic care can be an effective therapy for lower back pain, it’s worth considering. It’s certainly a far cry better than the typical drugs and surgery routine offered by most conventional doctors. So that alone is a mark on the plus side for considering a chiropractor.

A spinal adjustment can help return your spine to a healthy, neutral position. Besides “cracking your back,” most chiropractors also use other modalities to help relieve their patients’ pain such as hot and cold packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and a variety of hand held mechanical devices for vibration and direct pressure.

Sadly many chronic back pain patients continue to visit the chiropractor for months with little progress. They are instructed to return frequently so the adjustment “will hold.”

The failure here is one of focus. One of our customers some time ago said it best, “Bones only go where our muscles put them.”

In other words, an imbalance in the strength of opposing muscles will continue to pull your spine out of its neutral position. The truth is a lifetime of chiropractic adjustments will never “hold” if your daily activities produce muscle imbalances which keep pulling your spine painfully out of whack between visits.

Unfortunately, few doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists are trained fully in recognizing and treating muscle imbalances. And when they are, most have trouble adequately explaining the concepts much less giving specific advice in a 15-minute appointment.

That’s why we developed Lose the Back Pain to help back pain sufferers identify and eliminate their own muscle imbalances. Using it, tens of thousands have found relief from chronic lower back pain, sciatica, neck pain and other stubborn pains through simple stretches and exercises targeting these muscle imbalances. In many cases they’ve been able to give up drugs, doctors, and even wheelchairs.

So go ahead and visit the chiropractor. Ask them which muscle imbalances are causing your particular subluxations. If they can’t help you with that, be sure to bring your copy of Lose the Back Pain with you to your next office visit.


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Rubinstein SM, et al. Spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain: An update of a Cochrane review. Spine. 2011 Jun.


Filed Under: Lower Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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4 thoughts on “Chiropractic Lower Back Pain Surprise”

  1. Eileen says:

    Chiropractors fall into roughly 3 categories: segmental, postural and whole body (or brain-based). The article concentrates on segmental chiropractors. The other two types of chiropractors deal not only with the spine, but also structural or neurological reasons for why one has back pain-or any kind at all. The latter two do a much better job of muscle inbalances , especially the last, since those chiropractors exercise postural muscles over which you have no voluntary control, like the multifidi. Weak multifidi is one of the major reasons for low back pain that is intractable to chiropractic care.

  2. Gary says:

    I’m disappointed in Jesse and the so called Chiropractor on his staff for allowing this to be on your website. The facts are Chiropractic is leading the industry on why there is muscle imbalance and it’s correction. It is also pioneering the application of ancillary treatments for pain from acupuncture applications, to laser, to decompression and to nutrition to name a few. Those studies represent a group of the profession that is growing smaller and the way Chiropractic was practiced when I got out of school 25 years ago.

  3. Hans Albert Quistorff, LMP Antalgic Posture Pain Specialist says:

    Interview several chiropractors before you make a commitment. As indicated by above comments there are advanced methods of chiropractic that can help with complex problems. Remember an arthrose is a joint and an itus is an irritation. I subscribe to this news letter because it teaches muscle balance to relive muscle imbalance to remove those irritations.

  4. Tara says:

    Thank you so much for this – I’m subscribing to your newsletter.

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