Low back pain is one of the leading reasons why people seek chiropractic care. Numerous research studies have found that chiropractic care is one of the most effective forms of treating low back pain. In 1990, the British Medical Research Council performed a 10-year government study finding that chiropractic care was twice as effective as medical care for the long-term relief from low back pain. In 1991, an exhaustive study of chiropractic was conducted by neurologists, medical orthopedists, and chiropractors on behalf of the RAND Corporation, an internationally recognized non-profit research organization. They found that spinal manipulation (as used by chiropractors) to be an effective and appropriate treatment for low back disorders. These researchers discovered that patients treated by manipulation improved significantly faster as compared to those treated by medical care or having no treatment at all.
So how exactly does chiropractic relieve back pain and sciatica (pain shooting down the back of the leg)? Your lumbar spine (your low back) and pelvis are made up of a number of different bones. Your lumbar spine is composed of vertebrae that sit on top of each other and are separated by a spongy material called discs. Your pelvis is composed of your sacrum (your tailbone) and 2 pelvic bones that attach on either side of your sacrum. Chiropractors believe that abnormal stress put on the spine and pelvic bones can cause those bones to become stuck in an abnormal position. This can cause pressure to be put on the nerves in the low back causing the symptom of sciatica. When the bones in the low back become out of their natural alignment, their joints cannot move the way they normally should. As a result, muscle spasm, pain, and inflammation can develop in the area. By restoring the spinal vertebrae and pelvic bones to their normal position and motion through the use of chiropractic adjustments, pressure is released from the spinal nerves and the pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms decrease.