Chiropractic care to keep you fit, active and healthy


How does your low back pain feel?

| By Dr. Debbie Tan


We see a lot of low back cases come through our office. From office workers that dropped a pen on the floor and picked it up awkwardly to professional athletes that feel a bit stiff during their sport to pregnant mothers, everyone experiences low back pain differently.

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide.1 it is the second most common reported symptom presented to primary care doctors and is also the most common cause of taking a leave from work. Furthermore, its cost on society are significant and on the rise.2
Low back pain can feel achy, stiff, sure, sharp, stabbing or numb, and can last from days to months.3 Low back pain is never ‘normal’. When the body elicits pain, it is a response to gather your attention to an area. Like a warning signal in your car – don’t simply over look it or it may cause further damage in the long run!

Things to consider are:

  • When you feel the pain the most
  • What brings it on?
  • Is this new or has this happened before?
  • Do you feel like it’s getting better, the same or worse?

This helps determine the nature of the pain and what category that it will lie into. In greater than 85 % of the patients who present to primary care physicians with back pain, the pain cannot be affirmatively attributed to a particular cause. These are referred to as non-specific low back pain. Furthermore, it is difficult to determine the specific source of musculoskeletal pain in such patients.4 For specific low back pain, causes include cauda equina syndrome, infections, tumours, osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), fractures or radicular syndrome.4

A chiropractor’s duty is to ensure that the client is in the right place. If there are not, they will be referred out to the appropriate healthcare worker – such as a general practitioner or the local hospital.

Once it is examined and confirmed that the client is appropriate for chiropractic care, the client should be enlisted into an active plan to decrease the symptoms and reduce their risk of re-injury. Chiropractors generally use spinal manipulation, soft tissue mobilisation and/or other techniques, to treat patients with low back pain. Research has also shown chiropractic treatment to be effective improving the patients’ health for both chronic and acute low back pain.5 Please consider seeing an allied health professional for your back pain before seeking other methods.

  1. Ehrlich GE. Low back pain. Bull World Health Org [serial on the Internet]. 2003 [2016 Sep 25];81(9):671-6. Available from:
  2. Cassidy JD, Carroll LJ, Côté P. The Saskatchewan health and back pain survey. The prevalence of low back pain and related disability in Saskatchewan adults. Spine [serial on the Internet]. 1998 [2016 Sep 25];23(17):1860-6. Available from:
  3. Borenstein DG, Calin A, Swezey RL. Fast facts: low back pain. 2nd;2; ed. Abingdon, Oxford: Health Press; 2012.
  4. Welch E. Low back pain. Innovait. 2012;5(1):13-21. doi: 10.1093/innovait/inr064
  5. Peterson CK, Bolton J, Humphreys BK. Predictors of improvement in patients with acute and chronic low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment. JManipulative Physiol Ther. 2012;35(7):525-33. doi: 1016/j.jmpt.2012.06.003
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Category: Spine Care