Your physical condition influences your success, health and sense of well-being.
Eating organic foods, avoiding sugary snacks and exercising keeps you fit, but even physically fit people can experience lower back pain.
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With age or injury, the series of joints constituting the spine can stiffen as disks shrink or bulge and cause pain. If your goals include a healthy diet and avoiding as many chemicals as possible, you avoid managing pain with drugs. Instead of using pharmaceuticals to quell this common complaint, you may use natural remedies.
When herbal remedies cannot meet the challenge, consider seeing a Doctor of Chiropractic, or a chiropractor. Chiropractors treat musculoskeletal disorders without using drugs.
Chiropractic Medicine Explained
Chiropractic, a branch of alternative medicine, theorizes that spinal misalignment blocks the immune system and related healing process by interfering with neural transmissions between the brain and the body, or central and peripheral nervous systems.
The brain receives confused information from the body, and then responds as if that information is correct. This leads to errors in the body’s response to challenges that could be overcome by your immune system.
Chiropractors manipulate the spine to restore alignment and clarify brain/body communication pathways. These adjustments improve your body’s immune response, stimulate circulation and support the healing process.
Chiropractors divide adjustments into two general categories: spinal mobilization, using low-force or gentle chiropractic techniques, and spinal manipulation, using HVLA (high velocity low-amplitude thrust).
Low-Force Or Gentle Chiropractic Techniques
Chiropractors modify treatment plans to suit every individual, varying techniques to suit each situation. They use gentle chiropractic techniques when:
- You are in the early stages of healing yet you are still experiencing pain
- Your nervous system is so sensitive that vigorous adjustments may trigger muscle spasms
- You have osteoporosis or any other condition that causes a fragility of your bones
- You are of a weight or body set that makes proper positioning or HVLA impossible
High Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust Techniques
HVLA is the technique chiropractors use most often and can help with neck related headaches in addition to easing lower back pain. Variations of HVLA can involve specially designed chairs and tables equipped with sections that drop away from the patient’s body.
All HVLA adjustments feature the doctor’s applying short thrusts to stiff joints, one at a time, and while chiropractors are best known for spinal manipulation, they can employ other non-pharmaceutical techniques to ease your lower back pain. Other treatments can include:
- Pelvic stabilization. When lower back pain stems from legs being different lengths, your doctor may recommend wearing a lift in the shoe of the shorter leg. Equalizing leg length shifts the pelvis to a level position, removing the strain placed on the lower back while walking and standing.
- Traction. Also known as nonsurgical decompression, traction eases the pressure on vertebral disks, allowing their contents to flow back to their normal position and removing pressure from the nerves exiting the spine and leading to the rest of the body. These treatments ease pain that radiates down one or both legs (sciatica).
- Electrical muscle stimulation. Electrical impulses are sent through electrodes placed on the skin into painful tissues to ease muscle spasms and inflammation.
- Diathermy. This therapy uses high-frequency currents. The electric currents bypass soft tissues and heat denser connective tissues. Treatments relax internal muscle spasms and increase circulation. Treated areas will feel slightly warm after each session.
- Ultrasound. Sound waves heat deep tissues to increase circulation, reduce stiffness and support healing.
Appointments Grow Less Frequent With Healing
Your doctor may schedule your first treatments for once or twice a week. Appointments can fall to once or twice a month as your initial pain subsides.
In addition to adjustments and other drug-free treatments, your chiropractor may suggest specific exercises to strengthen the lower back and give advice about proper lifting, an ergonomically correct workspace and a healthier leisure environment.
Where traditional western medicine treats diseases based on symptoms and available medications, chiropractic treatments can include lifestyle changes and dietary supplements to improve overall health.
Chiropractic Care Supports Your Health Goals
When your treatments near their end and your back has stabilized, ask your chiropractor about maintenance adjustments. Also called wellness or preventative care, some chiropractors like seeing their stable patients monthly, while others schedule maintenance adjustments at two-month intervals.
Many insurance companies do not consider these appointments medically necessary and will not cover the appointments, but your doctor can monitor your lower back for changes before those changes become painful problems.