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Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain

By  Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.

Courtesy Wikimedia
Most people suffer from lower back pain at some time in their lives. Lower back pain is one of the conditions most frequently treated by chiropractors. The joints in the spine are designed for lifting, bending, twisting, and arching. The discs positioned between each vertebrae allow for these movements while also providing space for nerves to pass in and out of the spine. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the spine provide the power for movement.

There are lots of ways the back may be injured.

  • Lifting things that are too heavy, awkward, or using poor technique while lifting.
  • Bending beyond a person’s level of flexibility.
  • Spending long periods of time sitting in awkward positions
  • Sleeping in a position that puts stress on the back.
  • Overdoing it at the gym, golf course, sports field, or elsewhere.

Over-exertion is one of the most common causes of muscle strain which leads to low back pain. Weekend warriors who are not very active during the work week and spend hours exercising on the weekends are particularly vulnerable to injuries including those that may cause lower back pain.

What is the lumbar spine?

Courtesy Wikimedia.
Surprisingly, there’s no wood whatsoever in the lumbar spine. According to, the lumbar spine is the part of the spine comprised of five vertebral bodies (L1-L5) that extend from the lower thoracic spine (chest) to the sacrum (bottom of the spine). The vertebral bodies are stacked on top of each other with a disc between each one. There are three types of muscles that attach to the lumbar spine.

Extensor muscles are attached to the back of the spine. They enable humans to stand and to lift objects.

Flexor muscles are attached to the front of the spine. They enable people to bend forward, lift, and arch the lower back.

Oblique muscles are attached to the sides of the spine. They help to rotate the spine. They also help people to maintain proper posture.

These muscles are made up of individual fibers. When a fiber is stretched too far or torn, the condition is known as a lumbar muscle strain. Common symptoms include:

  • Dull aching pain
  • Sudden shooting pain
  • Tenderness in the lower back

What’s the difference between acute back pain and chronic back pain?

Acute back pain comes on suddenly, usually after an injury from heavy lifting, athletic activity, or some other activity that’s stressful to the back. Injuries that result in acute back pain sometimes heal completely on their own within a month. 
Chiropractic treatment is important for these injuries to address potential asymmetric issues and movement patterns that may lead to further issues down the road. In addition, Chiropractic has been proven to reduce healing time which gets a person back in action faster.

Pain that lasts for months is considered chronic. With chronic back pain, low levels of pain, achiness, stiffness, or flare-ups may continue for months after an injury.

For pulled muscles without severe symptoms, many practitioners recommend allowing the injury to rest for a day or two. After that, the patient can start stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility and strength while the lower back gets better.

When should a person with lower back pain seek help?

Severe back pain after a fall or injury should be checked out immediately. Also, if a patient experiences any of the following, he or she should set up an appointment.

  • Pain lasts more than 72 hours.
  • The pain makes it difficult to stand up straight.
  • Pain worsens or never lets up.
  • Bladder or bowel control becomes difficult.
  • Pain when coughing or sneezing.
  • Pain shoots down one of the legs. Sometimes back pain is related to a bulging disc or a ruptured disc. When a disc presses on the sciatic nerve, there may be pain shooting down one leg. This is called sciatica.

Chiropractic adjustment for lower back pain

To relieve pain in the lower back, chiropractors use a technique called spinal manipulation. It involves finding the part of the spine that’s out of proper alignment. Then the chiropractor applies a specific scientific chiropractic adjustment using one of many techniques to bring the spine back into the proper alignment. Techniques used are matched to a person specific needs and ability to receive the adjustment effectively.

The key is determining the proper location and making the move correctly. Chiropractors have extensive education and training to ensure that adjustments are the safest form of health care today. This is not the kind of thing that anyone should try at home on their family or friends.

Tips to avoid lower back problems

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy back. The more weight a person carries, the more stress it puts on various parts of the body, including the lower back. People who aren’t carrying extra weight around have fewer problems with the lower back.  

Fitness is another key to keeping your back healthy. When your back and abdominal muscles are strong and flexible, you’re able to engage in a wider range of activities, including strenuous activities, without hurting yourself.

It’s also important to lift heavy objects properly and without bending beyond your physical limitations. If you’re not in shape to move a heavy object, like a piano or an air conditioner, just say no. Let someone else do it, even if you have to pay them. That expense will be far less than the cost of being laid up for weeks.

If your job involves lifting, pulling, or any activity that twists the spine, pay very close attention to how you go about that. The more you can do to avoid putting stress on the back by lifting and twisting, the better off you will be in the long run. 

If you carry a backpack, briefcase, or purse over your shoulder, remember that the lower back supports the upper body and bears the burden of anything you carry. Carrying a heavy bag once in a while may not do any harm, but day after day it can certainly take a toll. If you can reduce the weight that you’re carrying, your lower back will be happy about that. If you have to carry lots of stuff every day, look into a briefcase on wheels. Again, your lower back will appreciate it.


In this article, I have discussed chiropractic adjustment for lower back pain. Lower back pain can be caused  by over-exertion, falls, and lifting too much or lifting in an awkward way. I’ve also provided tips on how to avoid lower back pain.

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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.

Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.


  1. What most people don't realize is that the spine controls everything in the body. That means that if your back isn't happy it has a ripple effect that can produce all kinds of side issues. My bi-monthly chiropractic sessions have been the best preventative medicine I can get.

  2. I appreciate the tips on how to avoid hurting the back and when to seek help. It's nice to know that relief can be found without getting all doped up.