How Chiropractors Diagnose and Treat Lower Back Pain

How Chiropractors Diagnose and Treat Lower Back Pain

Sep 01, 2020

Low back pain is a common condition among people. Pain on your lower back can be a result of nerve irritation, spinal abnormalities, muscle pulls, spasms, and injury. In some cases, mild pain can be as a result of fatigue, thus can subside through rest. However, if pain on your lower back is unexplained, you should consider visiting a chiropractor near you.

What Are the Causes of Low Back Pain?

Below are the most common causes of low back pain:


Due to strenuous activity, muscles and ligaments on your back can stretch or tear. Some of the symptoms of torn muscles and ligaments include stiffness and muscle spasms on your back.

Disc Injury

The discs between the spinal vertebrae act as cushions and are prone to injury. When the cartilage surrounding the discs pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots, the disc can slip or rupture. It occurs when you suddenly lift and object or twist your back.

Abnormal Spinal Curvature

Conditions such as scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis can cause abnormal curvatures on your spine. These abnormal curvatures lead to pain on your back due to pressure applied to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Spinal Stenosis

Due to the degeneration of discs between the vertebrae, the spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Pressure on the nerves leads to numbness, cramps, and weakness while standing or walking.

Other causes of low back pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammation of spinal joints
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer


Before developing a low back pain treatment plan in Vancouver, WA, your chiropractor will do a thorough examination to identify the specific cause of pain. To determine areas of restricted movements, the chiropractor will perform specific physical and neurological exams. Alternatively, the chiropractor will use motion and static palpation techniques.

Your specialist will also analyze how you walk, overall posture, and spinal alignment.

Some cases might require imaging technologies to determine the cause of pain. The chiropractor can use x-rays, MRI scans, and lab tests.

After diagnosing the specific condition causing pain on your back, the chiropractor will develop a better treatment plan. The specialist can also rule out the case that requires surgery. In such a case, your chiropractor will refer you to a spine surgeon.


When seeking chiropractic services in Vancouver, WA, to treat low back pain, your chiropractor will choose a technique to use depending on your condition.

The specialist can use a combination of spinal manipulations, manual techniques, and therapeutic instruments.

Spine manipulation techniques include:

  • Flexion and distraction technique. The technique involves applying gentle and controlled pressure on the site of pain. Flexion and distraction will drop the intradiscal pressures and widen the spinal canal area. Additionally, the technique returns motion to the spinal joints.
  • Instrument assisted spinal manipulation. When performing this technique, your chiropractor will use a hand-held instrument to apply pressure without directly thrusting on your spine.
    Other techniques the chiropractor can use include:
  • Spinal mobilization. This mobilization technique involves low-velocity manipulation movements to increase the range of motion within the affected areas.
  • Soft-tissue therapy. During this procedure, the chiropractor will use a specific instrument to stroke the areas with restricted movements, increasing the range of motion.
  • Manual joint stretching and resistance. When performing the procedure, the specialist will manually stretch and press your joints.

Your chiropractor can also use instruments to treat muscle inflammation. These instruments include:

  • Inferential electric stimulators. These instruments use low frequency electrical currents to stimulate muscles, thus treating low back pain.
  • Ultrasound. Depending on the diagnosis, the chiropractor can consider the ultrasound treatment technique. The procedure involves sending sound waves into your back tissues, thus reducing muscle spasms, swelling, and stiffness.

How to Prevent Low Back Pain

There are many ways to prevent low back pain. According to our chiropractor at Hoffman Chiropractic, the preventive can also reduce the severity of low back pain.

Prevention involves the following:

  • Exercising muscles on your back and abdomen
  • Weight loss if you are overweight
  • Proper lifting of objects by bending on the knee and lifting with your legs
  • Maintaining an upright posture
  • Sleeping on your side and a firm surface
  • Sitting on supportive chairs that are of the right height
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes
  • Quit smoking since nicotine leads to degeneration of spinal discs

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