10 Back Pain Conditions Treated with Chiropractic Adjustments

Though many use “chiropractic adjustment” and “chiropractic care” as synonyms, they do not actually mean the same things. Rather, a chiropractic adjustment is just an aspect of chiropractic care (which is the full scope of chiropractic treatment) and may make up only a portion of your overall care regimen.

The actual process of chiropractic adjustment involves the chiropractor using their hands, or sometimes a small instrument, to apply controlled and sudden force to the spinal joints. Also known as spinal manipulation, the technique offers a plethora of benefits for multiple conditions and types of back pain.

chiropractic adjustments

1. Herniated Disk

Commonly referred to as a “slipped” or “ruptured” disk, this condition causes mild to severe pain and limits mobility. A herniated disk occurs when a tear in the annulus (the rubbery, tough exterior of the spinal disk) allows some of the nucleus (the softer center of the spinal disk) to push through. This irritates the surrounding nerves, leading to pain and weakness in the back. Chiropractic adjustment helps to relieve that pain, improving your alignment and strengthening back muscles in the process.

2. Injury

In this context, an injury refers to something that has caused acute (lasting less than six weeks) or subacute (lasting 6 to 12 weeks) back pain. Your chiropractor will work with you to determine the severity of the injury and any affected areas, as well as any medical history that may be impacting the injury. The goal is to find the right adjustment procedures and care regimen for your specific needs, to relieve pain and improve any loss of mobility.

3. Lower Back Pain

It is important to understand that not all pain is going to have a definitive source or root cause, and back pain is no different. Though the term lower back pain may seem general, it tends to refer to back pain as a result of multiple or unfindable causes. Sometimes, you just hurt.

Chiropractors perform an examination to diagnose any possible sources of pain before determining the best adjustment plan for you. Pressure is applied to any abnormal vertebrae or problem areas, to relieve pain and return any functionality or movement lost.

4. Muscle/Tendon Trauma

Though it may be the result of an injury or the cause of lower back pain, pulled, strained, and torn muscles may require different or separate chiropractic adjustments. Since the goal is to relieve pain, you’ll likely find most chiropractic treatments for muscles and tendons are lighter than others, so as not to exacerbate the condition. Adjustment helps to correct muscle imbalances and improve mobility, allowing muscles to rest and properly heal.

5. Neuropathy

While the pain and numbness associated with neuropathy is often felt more in the legs and arms, it can also be felt in the back and typically stems from nerves around the spine.

Neuropathy is caused by compressed nerves being irritated, leading to pain and numbness in the arms, back, and/or legs. The point of chiropractic adjustment for neuropathy is to relieve the pressure on the nerves, which reduces pain and returns function. Always remember to contact your primary care physician before making a chiropractic appointment for neuropathy.

6. Osteoarthritis

It must first be noted that inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis should not be treated with chiropractic adjustments. However, osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between bones begins to wear down, can be helped with chiropractic adjustments. Your chiropractor works with you to determine problem areas and figure out if anything beyond your back is being affected. From there, an adjustment plan is developed to help relieve any pain and improve mobility.

7. Osteoporosis

A condition wherein the bones no longer produce new tissue, osteoporosis can lead to a loss of strength and mobility. Chiropractic adjustment for osteoporosis is aimed at strengthening the surrounding muscles to compensate for the strength lost and improve functionality.

The type of adjustments your chiropractor performs depends on the severity of your condition. You should always coordinate chiropractic care for osteoporosis with your primary care physician. If you have severe osteoporosis, do not seek chiropractic care.

8. Sacroiliac Pain

When the sacroiliac joint is compressed, injured, or pinched, it can cause pain in the back and legs. Moreover, both from the pain and any abnormality on the joint, it limits your ability to move. A chiropractic adjustment reduces the amount of pressure on the joint, improving mobility and relieving pain. If your sacroiliac pain is severe, be sure to consult your primary care physician before looking for a chiropractic adjustment.

9. Sciatica

A compression of the sciatic nerve, sciatica is often caused by a bone spur or a herniated disk that puts pressure on that nerve. This condition can lead to inflammation, numbness in the legs, and pain. Sciatica feels a little bit different for everybody, with pain levels ranging from slight discomfort to extreme pain. Your pain and tenderness levels help to determine the specific adjustment procedures your chiropractor will use, but the end result is improved spinal function and movement, with reduced pain.

10. Scoliosis

A sideways curvature of the spine, scoliosis is a condition that leads to alignment and posture issues, and can cause pain. While chiropractic adjustments cannot “cure” scoliosis, they can provide immense relief from pain. Regular adjustments have been shown to help improve alignment and, in conjunction with other care methods, can provide immense relief. For severe scoliosis, it is recommended to consult your primary care physician before seeking out adjustment.


Chiropractic adjustment is a valuable treatment method for a variety of different issues. Always be sure to provide a complete medical history to your chiropractor to achieve the best results. If you have concerns over the severity of your condition, contact your primary care physician before your chiropractic consultation.