Chiropractic for Low Back Pain Suggested by AMA

June 17, 2013 by Dr. Ihsan O. Erhuy

Chiropractic for low back pain is suggested by the AMA and others. In a recent article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it was recommended that patients looking for alternative treatment for low back pain first try chiropractic care before considering surgical procedures. The article states that many individuals can benefit from conservative chiropractic care, and that surgery is often only necessary when other more conservative treatments fail. Previous research has shown that chiropractic care for low back pain is more cost effective than either surgery or drug therapy, and saves patients money. The first phase is often pain relief, and the second phase is to correct the problem. The goal is to help patients maintain a healthy, pain-free back. The information in the JAMA article reinforces the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) position, which states, “Conservative care options should serve as a first line of defense against pain.”

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.

It is one of the most common reasons for missed work, and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office. More than $50 billion each year is spent on low back pain, and experts estimate that as many as 80% of us will experience a back problem in the future.

At Mountain View Pain Center, our dynamic team of doctors treats low back pain, mid back pain, neck pain and extremity pain. We combine expert advice, the highest quality of chiropractic care available, advanced soft tissue work, and state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs. We use various diagnostic methods to discover the state of your health, focusing on your spine and bone structure. Spinal manipulation and other manual adjustments can help your body heal itself.

The Causes of Low Back Pain

The back is a structure composed of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Pain can occur from a wide range of imbalances, such as sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks, and irritated joints. Sports injuries, improperly treated injuries, accidents, poor posture, bending, and lifting can cause acute (sudden) back pain. Chronic pain can result from disease, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, cancer, or osteoporosis. Conditions such as obesity and psychological stress can also cause, complicate, or aggravate low back pain.

Alternative Approaches for Low Back Pain

Samuel Moon, MD, MPH, associate director of education at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, weighs in on alternative treatments for back pain:

1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy for low back pain can include the use of machines or traction, stretching exercises, or hands-on techniques. “The types of physical therapy shown to be most helpful for chronic low back pain are hands-on soft tissue mobilization where the therapist moves the soft tissues of your back, as well as education about posture and home exercise,” says Dr. Moon. “Effective physical therapy should be goal oriented. It should always include learning what to do at home, and then doing it.”

2. Chiropractic Care: A chiropractic physician is a neuromusculoskeletal expert who is trained in the treatment and management of low back pain. They use their hands to manipulate the joints and spine to help relieve the pain, and provide strategies for back-strengthening exercises and injury prevention. “Chiropractic is generally considered to be as good as physical therapy, and as good as patient education, in relieving back pain,” says Dr. Moon. “And, like physical therapists, chiropractors can be very good educators about back health.”

3. Acupuncture: Acupuncturefor back pain involves inserting very thin needles into specific points on your body. This traditional Chinese therapy is thought to balance the flow of energy in your body, and is generally considered to be very safe. Dr. Moon commonly recommends acupuncture for low back pain. “There is definitely some evidence that it’s effective,” he says.

4. Therapeutic Massage: Various massage techniques are used to relieve low back pain. “Combined with other approaches, I think it can be useful,” says Dr. Moon.

5. Mind-Body Therapies: Mind-body therapies for low back pain include: Guided imagery, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, Relaxation therapy, and Talk therapy. Research has shown that these kinds of therapies can be effective in treating back pain. “For persistent back pain, I almost always recommend some type of mind-body therapy,” Dr. Moon says.

The doctors at Mountain View Pain Center are committed to relieving your pain and restoring you to good health and wellness. Whether it’s a specialized rehabilitation program, chiropractic care, muscle stimulation, or nutritional counseling, we will find the right option to suit your individual needs. Although several approaches may work, our goal is to find the method that is safe, effective, and works best for you.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, states that nearly 60% of people suffering from low back pain claim they get badly needed relief from chiropractic treatment. He says that over time, chiropractic treatments for low back pain may make a difference and are just as effective as pain medication. “The difference is that painkillers don’t eliminate the problem; they just cover up the symptoms. Spinal realignment, which forms the foundation of chiropractic care, can get to the root cause and fix an irritated nerve.”

American Chiropractic Association Tips to Prevent Low Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active, under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a medium firm mattress to minimize any curve in your spine.
  • Lift with your knees, and do not twist.
  • Quit smoking, as it impairs blood flow to spinal tissues.
  • Ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.

If you are experiencing acute or chronic low back pain, feel free to contact us. One of our specialists will diagnose your pain and create a treatment plan that is right for you.


Low Back Pain: Denise M. Goodman, MD, MS; Alison E. Burke, MA; Edward H. Livingston, MD

JAMA. 2013;309(16):1738. April 24, 2013, Vol. 309, No. 16.

Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010

Back Pain Facts and Statistics

Back Pain: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

How Effective Are Chiropractors for Treating Back Pain?

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