If you've been fighting back pain for awhile and have decided it's time to see a doctor, you have a choice of professionals who can help. Your family doctor may be able to relieve some of the pain, but they will likely refer you to a back specialist. This could be an orthopedic doctor, an pain clinic, or a chiropractor. A benefit to using chiropractic services is that the treatment focuses on non-invasive approaches. If you're afraid of having surgery done on your back to resolve the pain, consider these reasons for seeing a chiropractor.
Treatment Techniques Designed to Avoid Surgery
Chiropractic techniques for treating lower back pain are designed to be non-invasive. This means no incision is required and no tissue is removed. The treatment focuses not only on pain relief but also returning bones, muscles and nerves to their normal, healthy state. Some of the treatments that a chiropractor may recommend include:
- Heat and cold therapy - This alternates ice and heat packs on your lower back to reduce the soft tissue swelling that causes nerve irritation and pain.
- Physical therapy - This may be combined with heat and cold therapy to slowly stretch out the lower back muscles to relieve their tension.
- Ultrasound therapy - This uses sound waves to increase the circulation in your back and reduce muscle tension, inflammation and spasms.
- Nerve stimulation - This is done using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units, which send a small current into the back muscles, causing them to relax and stop having spasms.
- Spinal manipulation - Also called a spinal adjustment, the goal of this treatment is to gently realign the bones in your lower spine that may be causing muscle or nerve irritation. This reduces persistent pain and inflammation.
- Active Release Techniques (ART) - These techniques target specific muscles in your lower back. The chiropractor will use their hands or a special tool to put pressure on the muscles and gently cause them to relax. This reduces the irritation on your spinal nerves that causes your pain.
- Acupuncture - Some chiropractors incorporate acupuncture techniques in their practice. This is used to reduce pain and muscle spasms in your lower back.
Other Treatment Methods
For stubborn muscle pain and inflammation, the chiropractor may suggest an injection of steroids into the area surrounding the spine where the pain originates. Called a lumbar epidural steroid injection, a local anesthetic is first injected in your lower back, followed by an injection of a steroid into the muscle tissue. This reduces inflammation and can quickly reduce the pain.
Your chiropractor will try all of the non-invasive techniques available to them to prevent you from needing surgery. If you want to explore the many non-invasive techniques for relieving your lower back pain, see a chiropractor like Dimond Chiropractic before working with a physician who includes surgery as one of their primary treatment options.