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Who should I see for Low Back Pain?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Written by: Vincent Chou

About low back pain

Low back pain is increasingly common in today's society and is the world’s

leading cause of pain and disability. It is so common that during one’s

lifetime you will experience at least one episode of low back pain. You

may experience low back pain as a feeling of pain, stiffness, soreness or

discomfort in the lower back region and sometimes with accompanying

numbness or pain in the lower limbs.

An acute episode of low back pain can last anywhere up to 6 weeks and

may not fully recover and become a chronic ongoing issue. Therefore, it is

best to visit a practitioner to assess and address this issue immediately.

Who do I see to get relief?

You have some options:

● Chiropractor

● Doctor (GP)

● Physiotherapist

● Massage Therapist

The above options are the most popular forms of treatment for low back

pain and are all suitable for treating low back pain. There are also other

alternative types of health care not listed above.

This article will briefly explain what each profession does so you can make

the best informed decision as to which profession is best suited for your


Doctor (GP)

A GP is a good place to start for any kind of medical condition, they are

trained to assess and evaluate the situation and to determine the severity

of your condition. Depending on the severity of your condition they may

refer you for imaging or they may prescribe you medication and provide

self-help tips for managing the pain. They can also refer you to

practitioners that specialise in musculoskeletal conditions for further

treatment and management of low back


Chiropractors are trained in musculoskeletal conditions and are commonly

associated with treating low back pain. You do not need a GP referral to

see a chiropractor so you can arrange an appointment directly.

Chiropractors will assess, exam and diagnose your condition and then

treat accordingly. They are able to treat the symptoms of your pain as

well as the root cause of your complaint and get you out of pain faster

and reduce the chance of it returning. Chiropractic care commonly

involves manual therapy (adjustments), soft tissue work, posture advice

and exercises.


A physiotherapist is also trained in musculoskeletal conditions. They are

similar to chiropractors, however they place more of an emphasis on

using exercises to treat the components of a low back complaint.

Physiotherapists are commonly associated with post-surgical rehabilitation

that uses exercises to retrain and strengthen the body. Physiotherapy

treatment often involves manual therapy (mobilisations), soft tissue work,

electrotherapy and exercises.

Massage Therapist

A massage therapist can also help alleviate the pain from your low back,

however they are not trained to assess and diagnose conditions. They

solely work on relaxing the muscles in your back for temporary pain relief.

They are not trained to identify and treat the causes of low back pain, but

rather to manage the superficial symptoms.

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