Back Pain & Sciatica

Back pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their life. It usually feels like an ache, tension or stiffness in your back.

Chiropractic manipulation has been shown to be one of the most effective treatment of back pain.

Patient under going a spine adjustment by Dr Sarah Parkes
Dr Sarah performing a back adjustment


Sciatica is a commonly used term that describes a condition resulting from prolonged pressure to the nerve and or the spinal cord from the protruding /slipped disc and possibly the vertebrae as mentioned above. As a result of this continued pressure on the spinal nerve, pain extends from the base of the spine down the back and side of the leg to the foot.



The main causes of back pain are either of a micro (small) or macro (large) traumatic nature. Macro traumas encompass; car accidents, falls, lifting heavy objects sporting injuries etc, while micro traumas are caused by performing a repetitive activities over a prolonged time period. These activities may include; occupational activities, poor ergonomics and posture, lack of exercise, TOO much exercise, age and being overweight… or all of the above. Both of the above macro and micro traumas weaken the structural integrity of the spine which are the ligaments. These ligaments hold all bones together and allow us to move. Tendons attach muscle to the bones.


As a result of the Micro and or Macro traumatic events (aka Sprain/Strain injuries) which we all experience, the ligaments weaken or overstretch to cause the vertebrae that it is holding in a stable position to move backwards and either compress a nerve and or cause microscopic tears to the disc causing an inflammatory reaction.


In addition to the ligaments, there are special nerves called pro prioceptors which tell the brain instantly where the body is in space and reacts accordingly. When the vertebrae moves into the position it shouldn’t as a result of an accident or wear and tear, these nerves/sensors tell the brain to tell the muscles surrounding the vertebrae to go into spasm to PREVENT further damage beneficially but continuing to keep the vertebrae in the bad position. This ‘’locked’’ position then irritates the disc and sensitive spinal nerves to cause pain. 



Back and Sciatic related pain are usually worse in the morning when you get out of bed and ease slightly when you move around for the first 20-30 minutes upon waking. A disc related condition will be more painful with prolonged sitting and or standing and will improve with walking but can worsen if walk for too long. Disc conditions will also be more painful with coughing and sneezing. It is very common to have referred pain down the leg, into the hip, lower extremities and this will be coming from the spinal/neural origin in the spinal cord. It is therefore common to see a patient with leg pain, hip pain, groin pain, knee pain and or ankle /foot pain without back pain symptoms. This will occur as a result of either the disc impinging (pinching) the nerve root and or the vertebrae pressing on the nerve root.


If back pain has been present for some time, a neurological change can occur resulting in pain down the back and or side of the leg. This condition has been “commonly” termed Sciatica.



Specific examination and diagnostic principles are utilised including X-Rays and MRI Scans in order to ensure patient safety, and a speedy resolution of your pain.


We are able to identify the exact vertebrae that is causing the pain and using our hands gently manipulate the problematic vertebrae to move more freely. X rays and MRI’s may be used to assist in the diagnosis if needed.


In order to effectively manage your condition, we may also implement spinal stabilisation exercises and massage therapy to address the muscle spasms.


The sooner you receive treatment the more successful the outcome.