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BACK PAIN

Disc injury

What causes back pain ?

Back pain, especially lower back pain is one of the main reasons that people come to see an osteopath.

There are many different mechanical causes of back pain. Examples include; a poor desk setup,  hours spent sat or standing in the same position, poor driving positions, awkward lifting, stress, as well as overstraining whilst doing activities like gardening and cleaning. There are also several different structures that can be causing the pain. These include herniated discs (aka “slipped discs”) – mostly in lower back and neck, over strained muscles, joint inflammation and ligament damage. Causes such as cancer and infection are fortunately much less common.

What happens in the 1st session when I come for osteopathy treatment for back pain?

During your first session the osteopath will take a detailed case history. This helps us work out which of the many possible causes of lower back pain are responsible for your pain.

We also take the time to learn about what type of activities you really enjoy doing and what you might like to do again: For example, you might want to be able to start running or playing tennis again. Or perhaps, you just want to be able to carry your children without worrying that your back will give out on you. Whatever your ambitions are, we want to support you by providing a programme of treatment and rehabilitation exercises that help you achieve them.  

What techniques do osteopaths use to treat back pain?

We use a range of approaches to help alleviate your symptoms including:

  • Joint mobilisation – to promote greater range of movement in the back and free trapped nerves.
  • Deep soft tissue massage – to reduce muscle spasms
  • Postural guidance and safe exercises – to make your body stronger and more flexible, so that your symptoms don’t keep coming back.

Is  back pain treatment from an osteopath effective?

The short answer is YES. NICE guidelines for lower back pain, published in 2009 specify lower back pain treatment from an osteopath as effective.

What are the common symptoms of back pain in general and lower back pain in particular?

Common back pain symptoms include a dull ache in the low back, buttocks and thigh which becomes a sharp pain on particular movements. If you have a disc injury you will often find sitting for more than a few minutes also causes significant back pain. If you have a “trapped nerve” – ie the nerve coming out of the spinal cord is being pressed or irritated by another structure, you may also experience symptoms in the legs – (click sciatica article for more details about leg symptoms caused by back injuries) if the injury is in the lower back, or in the arm if the injury is in the neck. mid back pain effecting the ribs is often sharp and may impact of your ability to take a deep breath. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as feeling unwell, losing weight, disturbance of bowel or bladder function, you should talk to your GP as these could be signs of more serious pathologies.

What techniques do osteopaths use to treat back pain?

We use a range of approaches to help alleviate your symptoms including:

  • Joint mobilisation – to promote greater range of movement in the back and free trapped nerves.
  • Deep soft tissue massage – to reduce muscle spasms
  • Postural guidance and safe exercises – to make your body stronger and more flexible, so that your symptoms don’t keep coming back.