Communicating with patients regarding their pain isn’t always an easy process, especially during initial consultations. Descriptors such as “sharp pain” or “entire lower back” will only get you so far in providing a reliable diagnosis, and probing deeper often leads to convoluted and sometimes contradictory answers. This isn’t the fault of the patient – pain is simply hard to understand and communicate.


The reason Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) is so critical in patient evaluation is because it narrows the focus of the practitioner. A combination of radiological imaging, physical assessment, patient interview, and patient history provide a comprehensive starting point. At Ideal Spine Health, our Boise, ID staff relies on the qualitative and quantitative data provided to us through CBP to explore patient pain in a more thorough and educated way.

Narrowing focus

Instead of a simple 1+1 equation, solving spinal issues is a complex calculation with numerous variables. Getting to the root cause of back pain and effectively treating it turns into a multi-step process. CBP works to make all variables apparent before any attempt is made to solve the problem.

If a patient complains of radiating, chronic pain in the their lower back, it yields little insight. However, in surveying data brought to light by CBP, much more information can be scrutinized in an attempt to understand the nature of the condition:

  • Radiological imaging: X-rays may show a small subluxation in the lumbar spine and an imperfect lumbar curvature.
  • Physical assessment: The patient may show signs of weakness and tenderness in the lower back.
  • Patient interview: A chiropractor may learn that the patient is a plumber who spends a significant amount of time bending and lifting.
  • Patient history: Past medical records could indicate that the patient previously had hernia surgery.

As is evidenced, supplemental data from a CBP approach makes it increasingly clear that this patient is likely suffering from a herniated disc. Without this depth of information, improper treatment for general sciatica or radiculopathy could’ve occurred, without insight into their cause.

Improving communication

The importance of understanding patient pain cannot be overstressed: it’s the gateway to providing targeted, personalized care. As CBP seeks to provide a step-by-step process for collecting as much data as possible, it’s up to the individual chiropractor to facilitate clear communication where room for interpretation occurs. Some examples include:

  • Offering descriptors to qualify pain (sharp, dull, radiating, deep, surface, etc.);
  • Providing access to images or diagrams to offer patients visual explanations;
  • Asking targeted questions about lifestyle, career, history, etc.;
  • Posing situational questions to help narrow the scope of pain.

With CBP’s investigative approach to patient assessment, clear communication provides the complementary information needed to create a targeted adjustment schedule.

Pain is subjective; results are not

Pain is one of the hardest things to communicate, qualify, and quantify. Results, however, are easier to observe. When your patient feels markedly better, exhibits a better quality of life, and is free of the symptoms that previously ailed them, there’s no mistaking progress. CBP focuses on understanding the former, to achieve the latter.

For more information about CBP, its approach or the standards by which it operates and how it can be leveraged to improve patient care, get in touch with Ideal Spine Health Center today. As our Boise, ID patients can attest to, we truly understand pain.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.