The most common cause of back pain is articular dysfunction in the spinal joints resulting from vertebral subluxations. These subluxations cause joint instability and nerve irritation. The body responds by tightening muscles in the back, "splinting" the joint to protect it from further damage. Chiropractic care can help. Massage, medication, exercise, physical therapy and acupuncture treat the muscle but don't address the underlying cause of the problem.
The discs between spinal bones can be a source of back pain as well. These rings of fibrous tissue act as spacers, connectors and "shock absorbers" for the spine and can bulge or herniate, putting pressure on the adjacent nerve roots.
Once you know the cause, you have several choices. One approach is bed rest. But research shows that prolonged bed rest can actually delay recovery and make the problem worse.
Physical therapy is another option, but exercising spinal joints that aren't articulating correctly will likely exacerbate the pain.
Another choice is to numb or cover up the pain with drugs. While drugs can offer temporary relief, they can't correct functional problems of affected spinal joints.
The most drastic measure is surgery. While there may be times when surgery makes sense, it's expensive, risky and more than half of all back surgeries fail.
More and more people are choosing chiropractic care first. Specific chiropractic adjustments will help to alleviate the pain by correcting the underlying cause with improved safety to the patient.