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How Chiropractors Treat Back Pain

Chiropractors use a variety of clinically sound techniques, such as history taking, physical and functional testing and orthopaedic and neurological testing to diagnose, conservatively manage and prevent musculoskeletal disorders in a multimodal context, and within an evidence-based paradigm.



Chiropractors trained in Australia complete a five-year accreditation, in which they are awarded a Bachelor and Master degree. The program at Macquarie University derives learning experiences across clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic fields – all essential for becoming recognised as a registered practitioner. This internationally recognised program is taught by academics who are heavily involved in clinical work and research, such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, diagnostic imaging and clinical guidelines.


History taking

How chiropractors treat back pain begins with a thorough case history in which all relevant medical and functional information is obtained from the patient. How a case history is delivered is dependant on the individual patient; however, it generally follows a pattern in which information about the presenting complaint, history of the complaint, review of systems, past medical history and drug, family and social history are obtained.


Diagnostic and functional testing

Chiropractors use a variety of diagnostic and functional tests, specific to the patients’ presenting condition, to reliably and accurately differentially diagnose musculoskeletal disorders with sound validity. Some of these tests include orthopaedic tests (i.e., differentially diagnosing the injured tissue), neurological tests (e.g., assessing reflexes and motor and sensory loss etc.), and functional tests (e.g., identifying underactive/overactive muscles and faulty movement patterns etc.).



Communication is one of the most important tools chiropractors have for providing quality patient care and improving patient satisfaction. On your first visit with a chiropractor, they will communicate:

  • Your diagnosis condition
  • Their recommended tailored treatment plan for you and/or other treatment options
  • Any self-managing exercises you can do at home or work
  • Risks versus benefits of conservative care
  • How long you will require their care
  • Approximate time until you’re recovered and pain free.

Practitioner communication (interdisciplinary care) is also important, as patients will sometimes see other practitioners for the same condition. You can be rest assured that the interdisciplinary care at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre is of the upmost importance and is done so transparently and effectively.



The management of back pain is very much dependant on the individual’s presenting condition, which can even change for the same patient from visit to visit. Generally, there is a focus on reducing symptomology (i.e., pain and disability), improving mobility, advice and education on the presenting complaint, and often exercises (controlled-based, strengthening, conditioning, balancing etc.) are prescribed to the patient. Chiropractors will then often review the progress of your management and exercises at subsequent visits. As a patient improves, their management will change overtime with a focus on self-management exercise techniques, i.e., active care (patient empowers themselves to manage their own condition).


Types of low back pain

Back pain can be classified in two ways: the chronicity (i.e., the timeframe) and the underlying cause (i.e., non-specific pain vs. pathological pain). Back pain is a complex, multifactorial musculoskeletal disorder. We have provided overviews of the types of low back pain disorders. Follow the links for more information on:

If you would like to learn more about what chiropractors do, or would like to make an appointment to see a chiropractor, please follow the link to ‘Your First Visit’.


More information

For more information on spinal disorders, pain and dysfunction, please visit the following articles via our website:

Martin Frutiger chiro

Martin Frutiger

Martin is an experienced and qualified chiropractor, remedial massage therapist and has completed a Masters of Research. He has an active interest in sports conditions, over use injuries and problems related to the spine such as neck and back pain.