Lower Back Pain

Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Lumbar Back Pain


An overview of chiropractic treatment for lower lumbar back pain, how it works, how safe it is, and how often treatment is necessary. Along with the principles of chiropractic for relieving lower/lumbar back pain, whether acute or chronic. Seeing a doctor of chiropractic/DC, a chiropractor, or a chiropractic physician can be highly beneficial towards effectively treating low back pain.


Chiropractic medicine utilizes a variety of treatments/therapies that are designed to manipulate/adjust the:

  • Spine
  • Joints
  • Tissues

These treatments focus on the entire body to relieve pain and improve functional ability. This is referred to as spinal manipulative therapy or SMT, but many other treatment methods and techniques exist.

Every chiropractor has a personal treatment approach based on the patient’s condition/s, medical history, and personalized treatment plan. A chiropractor will begin traditionally start off with soft, natural, less-invasive treatments. They will move on to more aggressive techniques if these do not generate positive results.

Consent Form

At every stage of the chiropractic process, there is a strict emphasis maintained on proactively discussing with the patient exactly what is taking place and what is going to happen. A chiropractor makes sure that the patient understands everything that occurs during:

  • Diagnosis
  • Examination
  • Procedure/s

This is done to educate the patient and receive direct permission to start the treatment. The emphasis on informed consent is essential. This is because some chiropractic techniques could carry material risks. This means that a certain technique or particular procedure could possibly cause injury.

A chiropractor also informs the patient of the possible risks of not being treated. It is not meant to scare a patient. It is to eliminate misunderstandings and ensure that the patient has full control over their body, so they can make an informed decision as to which way they want to go.


A chiropractor will thoroughly examine a patient before making any diagnosis or treatment plan. The assessment can include:

Medical history

The characteristics of the pain and any red flag symptoms that require further diagnostic testing will be conducted to remove any potentially serious medical issues that can be associated with neck or lower lumbar back pain-like:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Tumors

There can be many reasons why low lumbar back pain happens. A chiropractor will investigate and develop a personally customized treatment plan. Next, a physical exam will be performed. This includes an orthopedic and neurological exam. These will test the:

  • Reflexes
  • Sensory nerves
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Other areas of the body

Advanced Diagnostic Testing

Imaging and laboratory tests are not always used for non-specific lower lumbar back pain, but they could be necessary if there are signs/symptoms of an underlying condition.

Severity/Duration of Condition

Chiropractic medicine looks at the symptoms and conditions of an injury or ailment and classifies them on how severe they are and how long they last. Symptoms can be divided into degrees of severity: They are:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe

For the duration period, pain and other symptoms are referred to as:

  • Acute pain – lasts for less than 6 weeks
  • Subacute – lasts between 6 and 12 weeks
  • Chronic – lasts for at least 12 weeks
  • Flare-ups – the same symptoms happen irregularly or from an exacerbation of the original injury

Treatment Trial

If an individual is dealing with acute or subacute lower lumbar back pain, then a chiropractic trial could be an option. This could be two to three weekly sessions over the course of two to four weeks, adding up to twelve total sessions. This can be a sufficient treatment to completely alleviate the pain. However, additional treatments could be necessary when the pain does not go away, especially if an individual has other issues/conditions.

Measured Outcomes

Outcome measurements are a valuable tool because they help determine whether or not the treatment is producing significant results. Some outcome measurements of treatments include:

  • Numeric Pain Scale for patients to rate the pain
  • Pain diagram so patients can describe the location and character of the pain
  • Increases and decreases in everyday practices, like work, exercise, and sleep
  • Testing functions
  • Lifting ability
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance

For some, low lumbar back pain could last and go over the 12-week mark, making it a chronic pain condition. A chiropractor will look for signs/symptoms to see if there is a risk of developing chronic pain.

Chiropractic How Often

When the pain is acute lower lumbar back pain, a standard treatment plan can be six to ten sessions over the course of two to four weeks. These treatments emphasize the passive non-exercise approach of manual therapy for relieving pain and improving function.

If the non-exercise method doesn’t deliver positive results, then a more active exercise-based treatment can increase function and return an individual to normal life.

Back Pain That Doesn’t Go Away

Often acute symptoms are resolved within the first 4-weeks. But it is possible that the pain can become chronic, meaning that it lasts longer than 12 weeks. Some individuals can hit a plateau during the recovery process.

This is referred to as MTB or the patient has met the therapeutic benefits. A chiropractor will want to see if pausing/stopping chiropractic treatment will have a residual effect, exacerbate the pain, or reduce function and activity.

Example: If mild to severe chronic lower lumbar back pain has worsened, a patient could need one to six more visits with each pain episode. And this would be two to three weekly treatments for two to four weeks. However, patients rarely need ongoing care for one to four monthly visits.


Chiropractors will not continue treatment/s if they are not helping the patient. Therefore, every 2 to 4 weeks, the patient re-evaluates to see if the treatment is still having a positive and beneficial effect. Here are some of the criteria for continuing treatment:

  • Individual still responds positively to the treatment
  • The individual has met the therapeutic benefits and worsens when they are not treated
  • Proof shows that self-care alone will not be sufficient to maintain the therapeutic benefits

Continuing Treatment

Living with chronic lower lumbar back pain can be challenging, but chiropractors want to emphasize that self-care is essential to pain management. This includes physical rehabilitation combined with range-of-motion exercises. A chiropractic physician may encourage a variety of treatment options, like:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Crossfit Rehabilitation
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Health coaching
  • Psychosocial counseling
  • Other beneficial treatment options

Chiropractic treatment and the benefits are different for everybody. This is why it is essential to communicate with your chiropractor every step of the way and to be open-minded about the different treatment options they offer.

Why Chiropractic Works

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Lumbar Back Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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