People who injure their lower back on the job often consult a chiropractor. A 2007 study (J Occup Environ med 2007;49:1124;Wasiak R, Kim J, Pransky GS) looked at the use of chiropractic care to treat on-the-job low back injuries and found that about 89% of workers included in the study initiated chiropractic care within 30 days of their injury and about half (48%) were done with their care in the same time frame.
The lower spine and disks are especially vulnerable to injury while at work and during heavy lifting activities. Heavy loads or simply awkward or stooped positions can increase an individual’s risk for a lower back injury and thus should be avoided. Of interest, more people tend to injure their back during the first two hours of a work shift. One possible explanation is that it’s because the disks in the spine swell up with water during sleep and are more pressurized first thing in the morning. Another possibility is that we’re simply not as attentive to lifting with good form first thing in the morning.
If you’ve suffered a back injury, then it’s important to have your injury looked at by a doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible so that you have the best chance for getting back on the job quickly. Bed rest and staying inactive are usually not healthy options for treating the injured low back, despite conventional wisdom or what you’ve seen on television. Inactivity can make back sprains worse by causing the muscles to weaken. Walking keeps pressure off of the disks and keeps the muscles engaged. Of course, lifting following a back injury should be limited or avoided altogether.
Chiropractic adjustments are designed to improve the mobility of the spinal joints, improve posture, and decrease tension on the delicate ligaments and nerves in the back. In many studies, chiropractic care to treat lower back pain has exceeded the results seen with conventional medical treatments such as medication or surgery.