19 Dec Back Pain
One of the main reasons people seek help from an osteopath, is back pain. Back pain symptoms include stiffness and pain in various locations along the spine. Pain may differ from time to time and can be experienced as muscle aches, shooting pain, or a burning or stabbing sensation. Simply lifting, standing, walking, twisting and bending can worsen the condition if assistance is not sought.
Seeking medical assistance is vital if your back pain lasts longer than a few weeks, or if the pain is severe and doesn’t improve with rest. Additionally, seek medical assistance if your back pain causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs, spreads down the legs (especially if the pain goes below the knee), or is paired with unexplained weight loss.
Back pain commonly manifests as:
- General aches and pains: This includes Lumbago (mild to severe low back pain), acute and chronic back pain.
- Sciatica: Manifests in the lower back and is caused by the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.
- Posture: A bad posture caused by prolonged sitting, driving, pregnancy, or lack of exercise; can lead to many patients experiencing back pain.
- Rheumatic pain: A chronic pain that affects the joints and the connective tissue, including those in the hips and spine, that can lead to back pain and stiffness.
- Pregnancy: Affects the expecting mum’s lower back and causes pain due to the spine having to support the weight of a growing baby.
- Neck and shoulder pain: Tension and stiffness, including a frozen shoulder (stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint), can affect the lower back area.
- Mechanical back pain: This is the abnormal stress on the spinal column muscles, most commonly caused by poor posture or incorrect forms of exercise.
- Sporting injuries and tensions: Caused by not warming up, using inappropriate equipment or sporting accidents.
- Spinal disc problems: Secondary and compensatory problems are caused by the immense stresses the spine has to sustain. These problems lead to lower back pain, weakness and numbness.
- Osteoarthritis: A joint disease caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone.
Osteopathic medicine is effective in treating lower, middle and upper back pain and will sometimes include treating other areas of the body, such as the neck, hips or knees. Using manual techniques to reduce your back pain, your osteopath will aim to increase the movement in your joints and relieve muscle tension.
These techniques include:
- Massage: To relieve the pain, your osteopath will aim to reduce tension in your back by directly applying pressure to the soft tissues.
- Myofascial Release Therapy: Your osteopath will aim to release muscle tension and tightness by using deep tissue massage techniques.
- Muscle Energy Technique (MET): Your osteopath will aim to increase the range of motion in the affected areas by asking you to push against them while they apply force.
- Manipulation: Focusing on a particular point on your spine, your osteopath will use their hands to make a quick thrusting action which can cause a ‘pop’ sound.
- Functional technique: Your osteopath will reduce tension and pain in your back by gently moving your joints before working them back into the original position.
- Counterstrain technique: Your osteopath will move you into a position that causes minor pain and then monitor the areas on your body that are causing your pain.
- Lymphatic Pump techniques: A build-up of lymphatic fluid in tissues can cause health problems; therefore your osteopath will aim to correct any blockages by moving the lymphatic fluid in order for it to drain naturally from the body. Additionally, your osteopath will advise you how to improve your posture and discuss with you which exercises you can do to alleviate back pain.
Here at OsteoVision, our team is highly trained and specialised in treating back pain. Each patient’s treatment plan is unique and specific to their needs, and will depend on their diagnosis, age, and fitness level. Contact us to discuss your symptoms, and a member of our team will be there to assist you.
Back Pain, Mayo Clinic – Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, (2022). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906
Headaches vs Migraine – The Ultimate Guide, Bodytonic Clinic, Elliott-Hutton, B. ,(2022). Available at: https://bodytonicclinic.co.uk/migraine-vs-headache/
Frozen Shoulder, Mayo Clinic – Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, (2022). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frozen-shoulder/symptoms-causes/syc-20372684
Lower Back Pain, Bodytonic Clinic, (2022). Available at: https://bodytonicclinic.co.uk/lower-back-pain-london/
Osteopathy for Lower Back Pain: Health Information: BUPA UK – Health Information | Bupa UK, (no date). Available at: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/back-care/osteopathy-lower-back-pain
Assessment of Back Pain, Assessment of Back Pain – Differential Diagnosis of Symptoms | BMJ Best Practice, Park, D.K. and Kern Singh. Available at: https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/189