Sometimes, when you have lower back pain, you feel like there’s just something in your spine that is misaligned like a twisted muscle or a pinched nerve. When you stretch, it produces a cracking sound which provides a feeling of satisfaction which temporarily relieves the pain. However, is the relief just psychological or it actually has a scientific support?   When you crack your knuckles, it also provides a feeling of relief and satisfaction, like something has been freed-up. But it does not really correct or align anything. It works only as a form of exercise for your joints which allows improvement of joint flexibility. The cracking sound is produced through the process of cavitation. Cracking of the back just works the same. Stretching and cracking the back doesn’t really mean much, however, correction of the back, specifically of the spine through “spinal manipulative therapy/SMT” by a licensed professional chiropractor can treat lower back pain.   Lower back pain is the most common health complaints among Americans with 8 out of 10 people being affected which reduces their productivity and mobility and affects their overall wellness, especially if it becomes chronic. Lower back pain can usually be treated through self effort such as remaining active through exercise, heat therapy, diet (anti-inflammatory foods), massage and taking pain relievers. However, in rare cases, it is usually difficult to treat thus, the intervention of a licensed health care professional, specifically of a chiropractor, osteopathic physician, naturopathic physician, physical therapist, or a trained medical doctor, is needed. Yes, these professionals are the ones you can only trust with chiropractic care, especially with spinal manipulation.   Spinal manipulation is actually not the only option that you can turn to in terms of treating low back pain. It is included in one of the many options including exercise, diet and others that were mentioned earlier. Spinal manipulation is performed with the use of hands or a device to apply a controlled amount of force which depends on the form of manipulation to be used, to a joint of the spine. Its main goal is to improve functionality, reduce nerve irritability, improve mobility or motion of the back and most importantly, relieve pain. It is also commonly known as “chiropractic adjustment“.   Here is how chiropractic care can help with low back pain:  

1.Corrects Posture

  Low back pain is usually associated with poor posture. Especially for those who are working in the office, prolonged sitting is a great contributor to their low back pain. With spine manipulation, the posture gets corrected after some session and at the same time, relieving the pain.    

2.Corrects Spine Alignment

  Health professionals such as chiropractors often associate the correction of the spine through adjustments to other health benefits such as improved digestion, improved blood circulation and good sleep, most of which do not really relate to musculoskeletal problems. Although there are only a few supporting facts to back this up. However, the benefit of spinal alignment is really proven beneficial in maintaining and restoring good physical functioning or mobility.    

3.Pain Relief

  There are two types of pain: intractable pain and chronic pain. Intractable pain is the severe type of pain that is often treated with powerful medications (such as morphine/opioid) and surgery. This type of pain cannot be treated with chiropractic care.   On the other hand, chronic pain is the type of pain that persists beyond an expected time frame or duration but can be treated with chiropractic care. Chiropractors use variety of non-surgical treatments such as spinal manipulation to address chronic pain symptoms e.g. inflammation, muscle tension, joint stiffness and the likes.    

4.Improved Mobility

  This is your ROI (return of investment). Chiropractic sessions can be costly since more than one session is usually needed to correct the problem. However, you will enjoy long term benefits which promotes overall wellness. Some or a few people have it included in their benefits package for their health insurance, so if you have it, take advantage of it.   When you and your chiropractor are able to develop a treatment plan for your chronic pain and once the symptoms are fully addressed, you should be able to increase your activities gradually. However, when you achieved pain relief, it doesn’t mean you can already go beyond your limits. There are still things that you should be doing extra careful such as bending, twisting, lifting and others. But you will be able to live normally and pain free!    

Side effects of Spinal Manipulation Therapy

  Adverse effects of spinal manipulation are very rare with 16 out of 10,000 ratio which include numbness, dizziness and tingling of the upper limbs, most of which are not really serious and subsides quickly. In a study conducted, 16 out of 1000 cases experienced fainting after their session, which is another adverse effect of SMT.   Also, there are reported case of serious adverse effects which calls for more research and monitoring, and most of which are fatal. These reported cases include:  

  • cervicothoracic epidural hematoma
  • vertebrobasilar stroke
  • neuropraxic injury of radicular nerves
  • cervical hematoma
  • cervical disc herniation
  • Boerhaave’s syndrome
  • cranial nerve palsy
  • vertebral fracture
  • subclavian artery occlusion

  Although these cases are really very are, what you can do to ensure your safety is to make sure you consult a licensed expert. Being equipped with enough and relevant knowledge is always an advantage to get ahead of your condition. In that way, not only that you would get rid ow low back pain, but you can also attend sessions with a peace of mind.