Back pain is the sixth most common health condition among adults in the United States, leaving chiropractors as the first line of defense for the physical health of nearly 16 million adults. But as social distancing has become the new norm, patients are wondering if their pain is even worth a visit to the chiropractor at the risk they may contract novel coronavirus COVID-19.

“The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has deemed chiropractors as essential workers during this pandemic meaning many Americans will still be able to visit their doctor for back treatment.”

What the experts say

“A medical condition would be any type of pain radiating down to the legs, radiating from the source of origin,” says Dr. Tim Mertes, a chiropractor, and clinician at New Life. “Any type of neurological deficit numbness cumulating into the extremities those could all be signs that there could be some nerve involvement.”

Individuals with back conditions like sciatica, muscle loss, or numbness should be scheduling in-person appointments with their chiropractor for treatment he says. In-person examinations are most necessary when chiropractors need to determine what the cause of a pain is through the use of imaging, medical studies or x-rays, mertes continued. Meanwhile, individuals who are experiencing minor back problems such as muscle pain, slight stiffness, or are just seeking general check-ups should call first before seeking attention.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to visit the chiropractor or not will be left to the individual patient to decide for themselves. As states continue opening, the wise choice seems to be to call ahead and determine if a session is needed.