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Decoding the Different Types of Back Pain: A Guide for Patients

Back pain is a prevalent and often debilitating condition that can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

The complexity of the spine, consisting of bones, muscles, nerves, and ligaments, means that various factors can contribute to different types of back pain. Understanding the distinct characteristics of these types of back pain is crucial for patients seeking effective relief.

Here are the different types of back pain and how chiropractic care can offer tailored solutions to alleviate discomfort and improve overall spinal health.

Common Types of Back Pain

Muscle Strain or Sprain:

  • Characteristics: Muscle strains or sprains are among the most common causes of back pain. They often result from overexertion, improper lifting, or sudden movements that lead to stretching or tearing of muscles or ligaments.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience localized pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and limited range of motion. The pain is usually acute and tends to improve with rest.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractors employ various techniques, including spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and rehabilitative exercises, to alleviate muscle strain-related back pain. Adjustments help restore proper spinal alignment, while soft tissue therapy addresses muscle tension and spasms.

Herniated Disc:

  • Characteristics: A herniated disc occurs when the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc protrudes through its tough outer layer. This can lead to nerve compression and result in localized or radiating pain.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience sharp, shooting pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area. Symptoms often worsen with certain movements or positions.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractors may use spinal adjustments to alleviate pressure on the affected disc and surrounding nerves. Flexion-distraction techniques and therapeutic exercises can also be employed to improve disc health and reduce symptoms.

Degenerative Disc Disease:

  • Characteristics: Degenerative disc disease is a natural part of aging where spinal discs gradually lose their flexibility and shock-absorbing capabilities. This can lead to chronic back pain.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience persistent, dull pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or standing. Stiffness and reduced flexibility in the spine are common.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease focuses on improving spinal function and reducing pain. Spinal adjustments, exercises, and lifestyle modifications are tailored to enhance overall spine health.

Facet Joint Dysfunction:

  • Characteristics: Facet joints are small, paired joints that connect the vertebrae. Dysfunction or irritation of these joints can cause localized or radiating pain.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Pain can be aggravated by specific movements or positions.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractors may use targeted adjustments to address facet joint dysfunction, restoring proper joint alignment and function. Additionally, therapeutic exercises and stretches help improve joint mobility and reduce inflammation.


  • Characteristics: Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, usually caused by compression or irritation, often due to a herniated disc.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience sharp, shooting pain that travels down the buttock and leg. Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected leg are common.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractors use a combination of spinal adjustments, traction, and specific exercises to alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve. These interventions aim to reduce inflammation and improve overall spinal function.


  • Characteristics: Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. This can lead to asymmetry and cause back pain.
  • Symptoms: Patients may experience varying degrees of back pain, muscle imbalances, and postural changes. Severe cases can affect lung and heart function.
  • Chiropractic Approach: Chiropractors develop personalized treatment plans for scoliosis, incorporating spinal adjustments, corrective exercises, and postural education. The goal is to manage pain, improve spinal alignment, and enhance overall quality of life.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Spinal Adjustments: Chiropractors use precise and controlled movements to realign the spine, addressing issues such as misalignments, joint dysfunction, and nerve compression. This helps restore proper spinal function and alleviate pain.

Soft Tissue Therapy: Soft tissue techniques, including massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy, target muscle tension, spasms, and adhesions. These therapies help improve flexibility, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall muscle function.

Corrective Exercises: Chiropractors prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the core, improve posture, and address muscle imbalances. Corrective exercises play a crucial role in preventing the recurrence of back pain and promoting long-term spinal health.

Lifestyle Modifications: Chiropractors provide guidance on ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, and lifestyle modifications to minimize the risk of back pain. Education on maintaining a healthy spine in daily activities is an essential aspect of chiropractic care.

Decoding the different types of back pain is essential for patients seeking targeted and effective solutions. Chiropractic care, with its focus on holistic and non-invasive approaches, offers personalized treatments that address the root causes of back pain.

Whether it’s muscle strain, herniated discs, or facet joint dysfunction, chiropractors tailor their interventions to promote optimal spinal health, reduce pain, and enhance overall well-being.

If you’re experiencing back pain in Tulsa, call Boos Chiropractic today at (918) 749-2992 to schedule a consultation. Consulting with our chiropractor can be a valuable step toward understanding and addressing the specific nature of your condition.