Health Articles:
Ask A Doctor (Forum)
What is Chiropractic? About My First Visit What's Best for Me?

Tell me about...

Back Pain

What is back pain?

Back problems can be caused by an extraordinarily wide range of problems – some of them originating elsewhere in the body, but with pain being transmitted (referred) to areas of the back by the nervous system. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention and is the symptom that prompts most patients who get chiropractic care.

The majority of backache sufferers complain of pain in the lower back. The second most common site of discomfort is the base of the neck.

Who suffers from back pain?

Virtually all human beings are subject to back problems. The fact that humans walk upright and on two legs puts great pressure on the spine and muscles that support it. Over time, back pain is all but inevitable. Normal wear and tear, accidents, disease, and such bad "back habits" as unnecessary strain from overexertion at play or work (especially lifting, pushing, pulling, and reaching for things improperly), and poor standing and sitting posture result in both immediate and long-term back problems.

What can chiropractic do?

Chiropractors successfully treat subluxation (a complex of functional and/or structural changes in joints, which can interfere with nerve transmission, disturb other organ systems and undermine general health). Spinal subluxations may have symptoms localized in some part of the back or may radiate down to the buttocks, thighs and legs. Chiropractors also treat tension that can show up as backaches and/or headaches or pains elsewhere in the body.

Doctors of chiropractic draw upon a wealth of knowledge and experience with treating and preventing back pain and back injuries. Soothing and pain-reducing spinal adjustments have been developed over the last century, during which chiropractors have practiced, improved and refined their techniques.

The chiropractic approach is similar to the clinical practice guidelines of the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. That is, doctors of chiropractic not only treat the pain, but they try to keep patients engaged in their normal activities rather than resting immobile in bed, which can actually cause further debilitation. Further, chiropractors do not rely on surgery, hospitalization and medication that can be both dangerous and needlessly costly for patients and their insurance providers.

Other Resources:

Children and Back Pain

Pediatrics, Lower Back Pain and Behavioral Problems

The More You Know About Musculoskeletal Back Pain

The More You Know About Pediatric Back Pain

The More You Know About Women's Back Pain


  • Bigos S, Bowyer O, Braen G, et al. Acute low back problems in adults. Clinical practice guideline number 14. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research publication no. 95-0643. Rockville, Md., Public Health Service, US Dept of Health and Human Services, 1994.
  • Carey TS, Evans A, Hadler N, et al. Care-seeking among individuals with chronic low back pain. Spine, 1995; vol. 20, pp312-17.
  • Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H. The effects of comorbidity and other factors in medical versus chiropractic care for back problems. Spine, 1997; vol. 22, no. 19 pp2254-64.
  • Hurwitz EL. The relative impact of chiropractic vs. medical management of low back pain on health status in a multispecialty group practice. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 1994; vol. 17, no. 2 pp74-82.
  • Ratti N, Pilling K. Back pain in the workplace. British Journal of Rheumatology, 1997; vol. 36, no. 2, pp.260-64.
  • Shekelle PG, Markovich M, Louie R. An epidemiologic study of episodes of back pain care. Spine, 1995; vol. 20, no. 15, pp1668-73.
  • Shekelle PG, Markovich M, Louie R. Comparing the costs between provider types in episodes of back pain care. Spine, 1995; vol. 20, no. 2, pp221-27.
horizontal rule