Low Back Pain

Back pain does not simply produce pain in the back, often it may cause symptoms in more remote areas such as the buttocks, groin, hips, and legs (commonly called sciatica). Low back pain is extremely common, and in most cases will recover quickly. There are a number of causes for low back pain; effective treatments and rehabilitation will reduce the risk of reoccurrence. 

NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines recommend manipulative therapies including osteopathy for the treatment of low back pain; guidelines also recommend you keep moving and exercise, if possible. After osteopathic examination of the various structures in the lumbar spine that might be causing your discomfort your osteopath will advise on suitable exercises and ice/heat.

Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle manipulative therapies, depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis. Treatments are different for every patient but may include techniques such as different types of soft tissue massage and joint articulation to release tension, stretch muscles, help relieve pain and mobilise your joints. Sometimes, when we move joints you may hear a ‘click’. This is just like the click people get when they crack their knuckles.

It is important to have your back seen too sooner rather than later, to ensure the pain isn't referred from your organs or a medical emergency. If you experience symptoms including loss of bowel/bladder function, numbness in the saddle area or pain/tingling down both legs, contact you GP or go to A&E immediately.

Osteopathic manipulation of the low back (lumbar spine). This reduces pain and muscle tension in an area. Contrary to popular belief, manipulation techniques do not put bones 'back in place'. They simply gap the facet joint to produce a 'crack' or 'pop' sound (sometimes). It releases endorphins, the 'feel good' hormone, that helps with pain modulation.

Dry needling or medical acupuncture might be used during your osteopathic consultation. Medical acupuncture can reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow and reduce pain. The picture above shows dry needling to the Lumbar Erector Spinae and Quadratus Lumborum muscles.

Dry needling or medical acupuncture might be used during your osteopathic consultation. Medical acupuncture can reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow and reduce pain. The picture above shows dry needling to the Lumbar Erector Spinae and Quadratus Lumborum muscles.

 

10 top tips for back care

1. Keep moving and stretching
2. Take regular exercise
3. Take frequent breaks between repetitive tasks and vary the rhythm
4. Change position – avoid ‘computer hump’
5. Pace yourself when the work is heavy e.g. gardening
6. Adjust car seats, and on long journeys, have breaks and stretch
7. Watch children’s posture – don’t let them carry bags on one shoulder
8. Avoid strain when lifting especially when shopping and with small children
9. Is your bed the right bed or is it getting old?
10. Seek osteopathic advice earlier rather than later