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How Chiropractors Diagnose and Treat Back Pain: A Closer Look

We all know that back pain is a common occurrence; according to some estimates, up to 80 percent of all people will suffer from back pain at some point in life. We also know that chiropractors are experts in the care and treatment of back pain. Exactly how do chiropractors treat back pain, and does the treatment they offer vary in different parts of the country? A new survey has produced interesting answers to those questions.

In the survey, researchers reviewed the records of more than 500 patient visits to chiropractors in two states: Arizona and Massachusetts. Specifically, the researchers analyzed information related to the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, along with recommendations for care.

Chronic back pain was the most common reason for visiting a chiropractor, with the typical visit for a chronic back pain patient lasting an average of 15 minutes. More than 85 percent of the visits in both states involved at least one spinal adjustment; other common therapies included soft tissue techniques, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and hot/cold packs. Chiropractors in Arizona were more likely to adjust the spine using the Diversified technique, while DCs in Massachusetts used hot/cold packs, ultrasound and electrical stimulation far more frequently than DCs in Arizona.

While the results of this study show that there are slight variations in the care chiropractors provide from state to state, they also show that people who seek out a DC for relief will receive the same high-quality treatments and commitment to care no matter where they live. If you suffer from back pain, now is the perfect time to visit your local doctor of chiropractic. For more information, visit


Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, et al. The diagnosis and treatment of chronic back pain by acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. Clinical Journal of Pain March/April 2006;22(3):227-34.

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