Back Pain: Chiropractor Experiences?


Hi fellow refugees, I’m hoping you can provide some insight into experiences you have had when it comes to golf and chiropractic care-

During a round five months ago, I pinched a nerve in my back trying to murder it on the 14th tee. I stupidly popped an Aleve and finished my round the best I could (I had a good score going). Over the next couple of days I had excruciating lower-back and hip pain. LONG story short I have been having lower-back and hip pain ever since. I have been seeing a physical therapist for about three months and while my symptoms have basically moved from “very painful” to “mostly uncomfortable,” I feel like I have plateaued in the last six weeks and am no closer to getting back out on the course.

I am now considering seeking a referral to a sports med specialist or a spine clinic, but I have numerous friends and coworkers telling me I’m crazy for not going to a chiropractor. I’ve always been wary of chiropractic care; I can’t get the idea of paralysis-by-adjustment out of my head. I’m curious if anyone has tips or recommendations based on their own experiences with chiropractors? Considering we are all avid golfers, I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with back pain.

Thanks for taking the time to respond if this topic strikes a chord with you, this is such an awesome community. Cheers!


Not all chiropractors are created equal. They will vary greatly in their technique, modalities they offer, etc. Please do your research.

Something that helped me greatly in the past was Class IV laser therapy. That, along with chiropractic adjustments, was a lifesaver.


I go every month for preventative and go as needed in case of emergency. I have twin toddler boys who I’m constantly picking up as well as golfing in summer months and it’s a life saver. I’m 37 and have gone since I was in HS.


I echo your fear of never walking again, but also can’t agree more with the do research and find a good one.

In my line of work, lower back pain is a given, and the adjustments provided my chiropractor have been a life changer.


I’d try acupuncture or muscle relaxers before a chiro.

I have struggled with back pain, with a major spasm happening about every 6 months due to something stupid (literally. dunking on an 8 foot rim, picking up a ~10 pound desk, sneezing, and one time swinging a golf club).

However, I finally went to a doctor that gave me a muscle relaxer instead of a pain killer and it was incredible. Any time I have a severe spasm I take a muscle relaxer for a day and I’m back ready to go.

Just my .02. Everyone is different. I wouldn’t be scared of a chiro, just more leary of it being a temporary relief instead of something permanent. They are trying to keep you coming back. They try and sell you on a 50 week plan the first time you go in there.


Thanks for the reply! How frequently do you visit your chiropractor? Regularly, or just when you have a flare up? One of my other hesitations is that I know multiple people who need to receive regular adjustments otherwise they’re back in square one. It works for them and they swear by it, but I don’t want to rely on frequent adjustments to live pain free. Curious what your take is here.


This is my other concern about chiropractors, I don’t know too many people who have only seen a chiropractor a few times. It seems like it’s either never or regularly. (But I suppose a back-crack once a month beats constant pain/discomfort)


That’s a common misconception. You don’t need to be adjusted for the rest of your life once you start. A good chiropractor will assess you, lay out a plan (might be 2-3x/week to start) and taper off.

I’d strongly recommend you go to someone who adjusts in conjunction with Class IV laser treatments. The 2 guys I DM’d you about both have good Class IV lasers.


Thanks for weighing in! That perception of “chiropractic addiction” has concerned me, good to know!


I went every other week for two months. I definitely felt that the first few treatments were extremely helpful to release tension and were the ones that gave the most bang for the buck.

Once I was pain free, I actually started yoga. The flexibility and strength gained has all but removed the pain.


Chiropractic is generally regarded as quackery and I would be super hesitant to trust one with my back. The big thing to keep in mind is that a Doctor of Chiropractic is not the same as a real medical doctor (i.e. didn’t go to medical school, can’t perform surgery, prescribe medications, etc).

I think you’re on the right track in trying to get a referral to a sports medicine clinic or an orthopedist. They are properly licensed to provide medical care and order the right tests. Massage therapy from a board-certified provider could also be worth looking into.


Glad to hear you were able to manage your pain yourself after some initial adjustments! I bought a “Yoga for Golfers” book a couple months ago in hopes that I can strengthen my back/core to avoid further injury, maybe that could work after a few adjustments. Thanks!


One of my best buddies is in residency right now and has reminded me of this multiple times!


I am a big fan of chiropractic.

  1. Get referrals from people in your area. SOMEONE is using someone.
  2. Go once to several of them…things that matter: a) did it help? b) do you like the doctor? c) easy billing, or if not covered, reasonable prices? d) what is their plan? does it seem reasonable?
  3. What style of chiropractic? physical adjustments, or the clicker technique? massage, stimulation therapy part of it?

I chose a doc who I happen to know from our club. I prefer the physical adjustments, and I’ve been seeing chiropractors for 25 years, so I know what works for me. You’ll know when the pain is gone, and you just don’t go until you need it again…UNLESS, you’re like me (I like a little more maintenance. BTW, anyone who says “quackery” is someone who’s never gotten relief from it. I don’t give a shit if it’s sorcery…it helps when I’m at my worst, and “real” doctors would just give you Aleve and muscle relaxers. F that.

Also, just an FYI, the best thing you can do for a bad back is to keep your core in shape. The muscles in front hold the muscles in back in balance.


What does your current PT do while you’re there? I’ve had back pain (lower back and neck) that was preventing me from playing more than one day in a row. I’d play 18 then have to take 3 days off just to recover. What my PT did was massage the joints all along my spine, and massage all the muscles around my ribcage. He does it in a very specific way that is different than a normal massage. And most importantly increase flexibility of your hamstrings. If your hamstrings are tight, they’re going to pull on your lower back causing your lower back to work harder than it should, and if your lower back is working too hard the problem is likely never going to be fixed.

If you combine a good PT that does this stuff along with stretching and core work, most of the time you’re going to be fixed. After a year of PT and exercising, I can play 3 days in a row now with no problem. However, not all back injuries are the same so yours could require more intervention. But, I’d first try seeing a very good PT and doing stretching and core work before seeing a chiropractor.


I’ve struggled with lower back pain for the last 20 years. I’ve seen my family doctor, been through the chiro phase, but there is only one thing that has consistently helped: yoga. I used to laugh at people when they told me that’s what I should do. I only do it when my back starts to act up, but I have gone a couple years now without a major “lockup” and I’m convinced it is the difference. If I was smart, I’d do it regularly, but…

FWIW: When my back is out, I can’t walk or move around without a cane or something similar.


Find a chiro that works with PTs and massage therapists. Since those 2 fields are at odds with each other for the most part, if you find someone that does both or at least is in good graces, its a good sign My brother in law is a chiro and this is how he rolls.

As someone else said - getting a proper sports massage or therapeutic massage is huge. Not someone thats just gonna rub your back for 45 minutes. A real massage therapist will beat the shit out of you in a good way.

I’d also suggest starting to stretch more and even find some basic yoga videos like someone else said. I’ve been getting back into yoga the last couple months and its incredible how much more stable and flexible my back has gotten even from super basic 20-30 minute videos I find on youtube and do at home.


great point that with a bad back stretching is EVER MORE IMPORTANT.


Thanks for the thoughtful response. My level of flexibility, or lack thereof, has been a long running joke in my family. (I haven’t been able to reach my toes in 20+ years). The recurring themes I’m hearing about stretching, core work and yoga have definitely been heard loud and clear! My lack of effort in these areas likely contributed to where I am now, gives me some areas to focus on in the new year!


Those are all great suggestions, I really appreciate it! The idea of a “PT-minded” Chiropractor is very intriguing.